Archives: U.S. EPA

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Did an Ohio Spill Expose a Leak in Ohio’s Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Laws?

After a recent accident at an Ohio unconventional drilling site, Governor Kasich expressed concern about the state’s fracturing-fluids-disclosure laws. The June accident spilled chemicals ­– including the drilling company’s proprietary hydraulic fracturing fluid – into a nearby stream. But under Ohio’s disclosure laws, the company didn’t have to reveal the contents of its proprietary fluid … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Tells EPA Its Policy on Aggregating Sources for Clean Air Act Permitting Violates EPA’s Own Regulations

Following a ruling by the D.C. Circuit, EPA may no longer consider interrelatedness in determining adjacency when making source determination decisions in its Title V or New Source Review permitting decisions under the Clean Air Act.  The decision, which vacates EPA’s policy directive Applicability of the Summit Decision to EPA Title V and NSR Source … Continue Reading

White House Unveils Plan to Curb Methane Emissions

Last week, the White House announced its new plan to cut methane emissions, the tenants of which could have far reaching implications for the oil and gas industry.  Titled the “Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions,” the plan outlines a coordinated interagency response to methane reduction that targets a broad swath of industries, including waste disposal, … Continue Reading

Environmental Groups Petition EPA for Tougher Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rules

EPA recently posted a March 19, 2013 petition for rulemaking by environmental groups seeking to amend the regulations governing the Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems source category (Subpart W) of EPA’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule (Mandatory Reporting Rule), 40 C.F.R. § 98.230 et seq.  The petition seeks three changes to these regulations.   First, the petition … Continue Reading

Texas Court Allows Defamation Claim Against Landowner to Proceed

On Monday, Texas’s Second District Court of Appeals partially affirmed a District Court order allowing Range Resources Corporation’s (“Range”) defamation and business disparagement claims against a landowner to proceed.  A copy of the court’s opinion is available here. This is the latest development in a case that gained notoriety when a video purporting to show … Continue Reading

USEPA Proposes Updates To Oil And Gas Air Rules For Storage Tanks

Two months ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) requested that a federal judge stay the lawsuits challenging its oil and gas air rule revisions to allow the agency to revisit controversial aspects of the rules.  On Friday, April 12, USEPA published proposed rules revising its prior VOC performance standards for storage tanks used in crude oil and natural gas … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Announces Peer Review Panel For Hydraulic Fracturing Study

On Monday, March 25, the USEPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) announced that it has formed an independent body of experts to peer-review the agency’s ongoing hydraulic fracturing research.    Specifically, the Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel (Panel) will review USEPA’s Congressionally-mandated draft report from its national study on any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources.  That … Continue Reading

Virginia AG: Localities Cannot Ban Gas Drilling Through Zoning

Continuing on this blog’s ongoing exploration of the intersection of state and local regulation of shale drilling (see last week’s post here, as well as prior posts here and here), several weeks ago Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued an advisory opinion finding that state oil and gas law effectively prevents localities from barring drilling for … Continue Reading

EPA To Revisit Oil and Gas Air Rules, Requests Stay Of Suit Challenging Regulations

Two weeks ago we reported that Texas withdrew from a multi-party lawsuit challenging USEPA’s new air pollution standards regulating the oil and gas industry (including hydraulic fracturing operations).  The suit is now led by industry petitioners.  On January 16, 2013, six days after Texas’s withdrawal, USEPA filed an unopposed motion asking the Circuit Court for the … Continue Reading

Texas Withdraws From Federal Challenge To USEPA’s Air Standards For Oil And Gas

On January 10, 2013, the State of Texas and two of its agencies (the Railroad Commission of Texas and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) filed a joint motion in the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia to voluntarily dismiss their challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new air pollution standards regulating … Continue Reading

EPA Extends Comment Period On Pavillion Groundwater Revised Report

In 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) began investigating claims of groundwater contamination in private drinking water wells in and around Pavillion, Wyoming.  In a Draft Report issued in December of 2011, the EPA reported that samples taken from an aquifer near a Pavillion gas field contained chemicals associated with hydraulic fracturing fluids.  Samples … Continue Reading

Seven States File Notice of Intent To Sue USEPA Over Methane Emission Standards

On December 11, 2012, a group of seven states led by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneidermann notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of their intent to sue the agency.  The states–Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont–claim that EPA failed to address methane emissions standards for the oil and gas … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Provides Update On Study of Hydraulic Fracturing’s Water Impacts

On Friday, December 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an initial progress report on its ongoing study to “better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources.”  By way of background, in 2009 the House of Representatives by resolution requested that EPA conduct this study, which the agency then commenced in 2011.  … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Issues Final Air Emissions Rules For Gas Production Wells

Earlier today, U.S. EPA published in the Federal Register its final regulations revising the NSPS and NESHAP for the Oil & Natural Gas Production source category (40 C.F.R. Part 60, Subparts KKK, LLL, and OOOO).  We previously discussed the substance of the draft rules EPA published on April 17, 2012.  EPA’s overview fact sheet, its summaries … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Concludes Dimock Groundwater Is Safe

Last week U.S. EPA Region 3 announced that it had completed its regimen of groundwater testing for private drinking water wells of Dimock, Pennsylvania, and found no evidence of contamination that would justify further action.  In a July 25 press release, Region 3 stated that it was stopping groundwater testing for Dimock residents and would … Continue Reading

API-ANGA Study Critiques EPA Plan for Studying Hydraulic Fracturing’s Effects on Drinking Water

A recently-released study questions key portions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to study the potential relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water contamination.   The study, released on July 10, 2012 by the Battelle Memorial Institute and commissioned by America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API), was designed … Continue Reading

EPA Extends Comment Period on Diesel Fracturing Guidance

On May 10, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register a draft document titled Permitting Guidance for Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Using Diesel Fuels.  The draft document is intended for EPA permit writers, and contains Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II permitting guidance for oil and gas hydraulic fracturing … Continue Reading

USEPA Region 3: Data Confirms Dimock, PA Groundwater Safe

On May 11, 2012, USEPA Region 3 released additional and expanded test results from samples of well water in Dimock, Pennsylvania.  Consistent with its three sets of prior findings, which we previously discussed, Region 3 found no samples exceeding federal drinking water standards for any of a wide range of contaminants.  Roy Seneca, speaking for … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Issues Air Emission Rules for Oil and Natural Gas Industry

On April 17, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued final regulations revising the NSPS and NESHAP for the Oil & Natural Gas Production source category (40 C.F.R. Part 60, Subparts KKK and LLL).  As we described earlier this month, USEPA issued the proposed rules on August 23, 2011 and thereafter extended the timeframe for promulgating … Continue Reading

USEPA Testing of Dimock, PA Well Water Finds No Contamination

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) disclosed in a March 15, 2012 statement that samples of well water at 11 homes in Dimock, Pennsylvania (where residents claim to have suffered health problems from shale drilling operations) “did not show levels of contamination that could present a health concern.” In mid-January, USEPA Region 3 announced that … Continue Reading