Monthly Archives: August 2015

Federal Judge Blocks Clean Water Rule in 13 States

By Max E. Bridges

Late Thursday, a federal judge in North Dakota blocked the EPA’s Clean Water Rule, set to go into effect today, that would expand federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. U.S. District Judge Ralph Erikson of North Dakota issued a preliminary injunction finding that the 13 states suing to block the rule  are likely to succeed on their claim because “(1) it appears likely that the EPA has violated its Congressional grant of authority in its promulgation of the Rule, and (2) it appears likely the EPA failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act requirements when promulgating the Rule.” Judge Erikson found that the states have demonstrated irreparable harm because the “States will lose their sovereignty Continue reading Federal Judge Blocks Clean Water Rule in 13 States

EPA Proposes Regulations to Limit Methane Emissions by Oil and Gas Industry

By Benjamin T. Keller

methane gasOn Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed regulations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and volatile organic compounds from the oil and natural gas industry.  The regulations are part of the Obama Administration’s plan to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent over the next ten years from 2012 levels.  Methane is the main component of natural gas and, according to the Agency, a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times greater than that of carbon dioxide.  The regulations will reduce methane emissions by 20 to 30 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.  The source of the remaining reduction needed to reach the overall goal of 40 to 45 percent is unclear.

The regulations will apply to new and modified natural gas and oil wells only, not existing wells.  The rules will require producers to: (1) find and repair leaks at wells, (2) capture gas from hydraulically fractured wells, (3) limit emissions from new and modified pneumatic pumps, and (4) limit emissions from compressors, pneumatic controllers, and other types of equipment used at natural gas transmission stations.

The proposed regulations are part of President Barack Obama’s broader Climate Action Plan aimed at addressing climate change and Continue reading EPA Proposes Regulations to Limit Methane Emissions by Oil and Gas Industry

EPA Finalizes the Clean Power Plan

By Max E. Bridges

On Monday, President Obama and the EPA unveiled the final version of the Clean Power Plan, a rule that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. Assuming the Clean Power Plan survives an expected avalanche of legal challenges,  the rule will reduce CO2 emissions from power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The 32 percent target is higher than the 30 percent target in the 2014 proposed rule, and individual state goals were not adjusted equally to achieve this higher target creating clear winners and losers. For example, Kentucky’s final emission rate goal is 27% lower than what the EPA proposed for Kentucky in 2014 and Indiana’s final emission rate goal is 19% lower, while Mississippi’s final emission rate goal is 37% higher and Tennessee’s final goal is 4% higher than the proposed rule. Another big change is that states will have two more years – until 2022 instead of 2020 – to start meeting emission-reduction requirements. The final rule also places more emphasis on Continue reading EPA Finalizes the Clean Power Plan