Monday, October 26, 2020

Shale Law Weekly Review - October 26, 2020

 Written by: 
Jackie Schweichler – Staff Attorney
Sarah Straub – Research Assistant 

The following information is an update of recent local, state, national and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.

Pipelines: Dakota Access Permitted to Increase Pipeline Capacity  
On October 14, 2020, the Illinois Commerce Commission issued an order allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to install more pumping stations along the pipeline at various locations in Illinois.  The Commission found that the additional pump stations will help to nearly double the pipeline’s capacity to transport crude oil from 570,000 barrels per day to up to 1.1 million barrels per day.  The additional pump stations will be located in Hancock County, Massac County, and near Patoka, Illinois.  Dakota Access Pipeline alleged the need to increase capacity of the pipeline in order to meet growing demands of the public.  The company argued that Illinois consumes the sixth most petroleum in the nation and that this pipeline is essential to meeting that need. 

Pipelines: FERC Issues Order Authorizing Construction of New Double E Pipeline 
On October 15, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order authorizing the construction and operation of a new pipeline, the Double E Pipeline.  The new pipeline is a joint venture entered into between Summit Permian Transmission, LLC and ExxonMobil Permian Double E Pipeline, LLC.  The proposed pipeline will travel 116.1 miles from an existing plant in Eddy County, New Mexico to Pecos County, Texas.  The pipeline is estimated to have permanent impacts on approximately 967 acres of land, while 72% of the project is anticipated to run parallel or adjacent to existing utility rights-of-way.  The Commission’s order found that Double E had demonstrated a need for the pipeline’s construction project, had shown that the project would not impose adverse economic impacts on existing pipelines or their customers, and had established that the pipeline’s benefits outweighed any adverse economic impacts that might be imposed on landowners and nearby neighborhoods.  The Commission’s order also denied an environmental group’s request that an Environmental Impact Statement be submitted, finding that the Environmental Assessment determined that the pipeline project would not significantly impact air quality, state and federal lands, or Karst formations (soluble landscapes which may lead to sinkholes, caves, and underground streams).  One member of the Commission dissented from the opinion stating that he believed the Commission’s order violated the Natural Gas Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.  In a statement by Summit Midstream, the company stated that it expects to receive FERC’s notice to proceed with construction within 90 days after the company has completed outstanding necessary requirements, files an implementation plan with FERC, and receives a right-of-way grant from the Bureau of Land Management. 

Public Lands: Government Accountability Office Report Suggests Review of Interior Department’s Temporary Royalty Relief Program 
On October 6, 2020, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report that recommended the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) evaluate the methods they employed in extending temporary relief regarding royalty payments to oil and gas producers during the pandemic.  During the spring of 2020, BLM developed a temporary program that allowed oil and gas producers to apply for relief from their responsibility to pay royalties on some oil and gas leases on federal lands.  The program aimed to avoid permanent losses because of the downturn in the domestic oil markets.  GAO advised that BLM’s administration of the relief program was inconsistent with BLM failing to establish that some operators needed the relief to avoid oil and gas well shutdowns.  GAO estimated that the relief program may have resulted in the loss of approximately $4.5 million in revenue.  GAO made the following two recommendations: (1) that BLM’s Director reevaluate the temporary royalty relief program; and (2) that BLM’s handbook be updated “to provide specific, consistent, and transparent policies and procedures for royalty relief.” 

Wastewater Disposal: Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Approves Rule Change for Underground Disposal Wells 
On October 13, 2020, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved a rule change regarding underground disposal wells used by oil and gas operations to dispose of produced fluids.  The regulation comes as a result of recent Wyoming legislation allowing the Commission to regulate both commercial and noncommercial underground disposal wells.  The Commission received two comments regarding bonding requirements and amended the proposed rule in order to allow for adaptation of the required bond to the individual well.  The approved rule will now be reviewed by the Wyoming Secretary of State and Governor’s office.  You can watch the Commission’s meeting discussing the proposed rule and received comments here at approximately the 51 minute point. 

Public Health: Harvard Publishes Study Examining Increased Radiation Near Unconventional Oil and Gas Development 
On October 13, 2020 Harvard researchers published a study in the journal Nature Communications which found that radiation levels downwind of unconventional oil and gas wells tend to be higher than radiation levels found near conventional oil and gas wells. Researchers collected data from across the United States from 2001 through 2017, analyzing 320,796 measurements from the Environmental Protection Agency’s RadNet monitors, which monitor background radiation levels in the environment.  This data was then compared with oil and gas well production data collected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  The researchers concluded that an increase in radiation released from unconventional oil and gas wells may result in adverse health effects in nearby communities.  The largest increases of radiation were found in the Marcellus and Utica shale fields as opposed to the fields in Texas and the Dakotas.  The researchers noted that further studies are needed to more completely examine and understand the connection between unconventional drilling, increased radiation, and the health impacts which affect nearby neighborhoods.

From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts: 
Charles Sartain, On the Way to a Renewable Energy Future: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (October 14, 2020). 
Romany Webb, California Blackouts Highlight Need To Better Plan For Climate Impacts, (October 12, 2020). 
Romany Webb, Trump v. The Climate, Round Two: What Four More Years Of Trump Might Mean For Climate Regulation, (October 15, 2020). 

Agency Press Releases - State/Federal

Pennsylvania Department of Energy Press Releases: 
Wolf Administration Announces Winners of the 2020 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence (October 14, 2020). 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Press Releases:
EPA Finalizes Procedures for Alternate Liner Demonstrations, Allows for More Site-Specific Management of Coal Ash (October 16, 2020). 
U.S. EPA requires Lanai Oil Company to protect Hawaiian waterways from oil spills (October 14, 2020).

State Actions - Executive/Legislative

Pennsylvania Executive Agencies—Actions and Notices: 
50 Pa.B. 5821, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, “Application of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc. for approval of the abandonment of natural gas service to one residential premise located in Allegheny County.” (October 17, 2020). 

Pennsylvania Legislature:
HB 2925 “An Act amending the act of July 7, 1980 (P.L.380, No.97), known as the Solid Waste Management Act, in general provisions, further providing for definitions; making an inconsistent repeal; and making editorial changes.” Referred to Environmental Resources and Energy, (October 14, 2020). 
HB 2826 “An Act amending Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in development, further providing for relationship to solid waste and surface mining.” Referred to Environmental Resources and Energy, (October 14, 2020). 
SB 619 “An Act amending the act of June 22, 1937 (P.L.1987, No.394), known as The Clean Streams Law” Voting Meeting Scheduled for October 20, 2020 

Federal Actions - Executive/Legislative

Federal Executive Agencies—Actions and Notices:
Energy Department
85 FR 64452 “EnergĂ­a Costa Azul, S. de R.L. de C.V.; Application To Amend Long-Term Authorization To Export Natural Gas to Mexico and To Re-Export Liquefied Natural Gas From Mexico to Non-Free Trade Agreement Nations” Notice of application; Comment period ends December 14, 2020 (October 13, 2020). 
85 FR 65392 “Golden Pass LNG Terminal LLC; Application To Amend Export Term Through December 31, 2050, for Existing Non-Free Trade Agreement Authorization” Notice of application (October 15, 2020). 
85 FR 65391 “Change In Control; Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC” Notice of change in control (October 15, 2020). 
85 FR 65795 “Cheniere Marketing, LLC and Corpus Christi Liquefaction, LLC; Application for Blanket Authorization To Export Liquefied Natural Gas to Non-Free Trade Agreement Countries on a Short-Term Basis” Notice of application (October 16, 2020). 
85 FR 65797 “Delfin LNG LLC; Application To Amend Export Term Through December 31, 2050, for Existing Non-Free Trade Agreement Authorization” Notice of application (October 16, 2020). 
Environmental Protection Agency
85 FR 65800 “Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of Availability” Notice (October 16, 2020). 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
85 FR 64454 “Northern Natural Gas Company; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Lake City 1st Branch Line Abandonment and Capacity Replacement Project” Notice (October 13, 2020). 
85 FR 64455 “Midship Pipeline Company, LLC; Notice of Initiation of Section 5 Proceeding” Notice (October 13, 2020). 
85 FR 65039 “Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc.; Notice of Application” Notice (October 14, 2020). 
85 FR 65041 “ANR Pipeline Company; Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC; Notice of Initiation of Section 5 Proceeding” Notice (October 14, 2020). 
85 FR 65035 “Rover Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Initiation of Section 5 Proceeding” Notice (October 14, 2020). 
85 FR 65394 “Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC; Notice of Application and Establishing Intervention Deadline” Notice (October 15, 2020).
National Resources Revenue Office 
85 FR 65395 “Agency Information Collection Activities; Collection of Monies Due the Federal Government; and Processing Refund Requests Related to Overpayments Made to ONRR” Notice of information collection; request for comment; comment period ends December 14, 2020 (October 15, 2020). 
Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
85 FR 65142 “Pipeline Safety: Class Location Change Requirements” Proposed rulemaking; Comment period ends December 14, 2020 (October 14, 2020). 
Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office 
85 FR 65422 “Agency Information Collection Activities; Certification of Blasters in Federal Program States and on Indian Land” Notice of collection information; request for comment; comment period ends December 14, 2020 (October 15, 2020). 
85 FR 65422 “Agency Information Collection Activities; Permanent Program Performance Standards-Surface and Underground Mining Activities” Notice of collection information; request for comment; comment period ends December 14, 2020 (October 15, 2020). 
85 FR 65421 “Agency Information Collection Activities; Underground Mining Permit Applications-Minimum Requirements for Reclamation and Operation Plan” Notice of collection information; request for comment; comment period ends December 14, 2020 (October 15, 2020). 

House Energy and Commerce Committee Actions:
H.R. 8582 “To amend the Clean Air Act to establish a tradeable performance standard covering emissions from the electricity generation and industrial sectors, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (October 13, 2020). 
H.R. 8605 “To authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to award grants to certain entities to conduct research on, or to establish, wastewater surveillance and other early warning systems, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (October 16,  2020). 

Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive ShaleLaw HotLinks: 
OPEC Cuts 2021 Oil Demand Forecast Again As Virus Cases Rise” Reuters 
DOE Report Indicates Need For Innovation, While Recognizing Role Of Natural Gas, Oil In U.S. Energy Needs” Daily Energy Insider 
Wyoming's Energy Sectors Slogging Through Slow Recovery, New Report Shows” Casper Star Tribune 
Natural Gas Is Key To Pa.’s Economic Future” Pittsburgh-Post Gazette 
Work on Mountain Valley Pipeline Can Resume, FERC Rules” The Roanoke Times 

Want to get updates, but prefer to listen? Check out the Shale Law Podcast! We can always be found on our Libsyn page, iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Shale Law Weekly Review - October 16, 2020

Written by: 
Jackie Schweichler – Staff Attorney
Sarah Straub – Research Assistant 

The following information is an update of recent local, state, national and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.

Pipelines: FERC Lifts Stop Work Order for Mountain Valley Pipeline 
On October 9, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) partially lifted its stop work order and granted Mountain Valley Pipeline’s request for an extension of time to complete the project.  FERC’s order authorizes construction along the majority of the pipeline route, but it does not authorize construction between mileposts 196.0 and 221.0.  Mountain Valley Pipeline’s request to extend the deadline to complete the project until October 13, 2022, was also granted.

Pipelines: DC Court of Appeals Issues Order Denying Motion for Stay of FERC Orders for Jordan Cove Project
On October 6, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an order declining to halt the Jordan Cove Project (Project).  The petitioners had filed a motion for summary vacatur or stay pending judicial review of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorizations that allowed the Project to move forward.  The court’s order denied the requests on the grounds that the “parties’ positions were not so clear as to warrant summary action.”  The court also found that the landowners had not “satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review,” but noted that the court may revisit the request for stay if the condemnation of the landowner’s property became imminent.  The Project consists of an LNG Terminal in Coos Bay and the 229-mile-long Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline. 

From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts: 
Charles Sartain, Oil and Gas Producers – ESG is Here To Stay (October 6, 2020).
Charles Sartain, My Operator is Making Money … Part 2, The Operator’s Response (October 1, 2020).
Ama Francis, Democratic Climate Plan Centers Equity But Misses The Mark On Climate-induced Migration (October 7, 2020).  

Agency Press Releases - State/Federal

Pennsylvania Department of Energy Press Releases:
DEP Reaches Agreement with Columbia Gas Transmission for Erosion and Sedimentation Violations in Greene County (October 7, 2020)
DEP Awards $4.9 Million in Nonpoint Source Management Grants to 23 Watershed Restoration Projects Statewide (October 7, 2020)

U.S. Department of Energy Press Releases:
Department of Energy Announces Energy Incubator Prize Selections (October 7, 2020)
Department of Energy Issues Report on Benefits of U.S. Oil and Natural Gas: Providing Energy Security and Supporting Our Quality of Life (October 7, 2020)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Press Releases:
In Pennsylvania, EPA Proposes to Reduce Regulatory Burden and Air Pollutant Emissions from Large Storage Tanks (October 7, 2020)

State Actions - Executive/Legislative

Pennsylvania Legislature:
SB 1297 “An Act amending the act of November 30, 2004 (P.L.1672, No.213), known as the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act” Referred to Environmental Resources and Energy (October 5, 2020). 
SB 1173 “An Act amending the act of January 8, 1960 (1959 P.L.2119, No.787), known as the Air Pollution Control Act, further providing for advice to department.” Referred to Environmental Resources and Energy (October 7, 2020). 

Federal Actions - Executive/Legislative

Federal Executive Agencies—Actions and Notices:

Land Management Bureau:
85 FR 62757 “Notice of Public Meeting: Resource Advisory Council Subcommittee on Public Lands, Alaska” Notice of public meeting (October 5, 2020). 

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
85 FR 62798 “Pipeline Safety: Request for Special Permit; Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC” Notice of special permit (October 5, 2020). 

Executive Office of the President
85 FR 62539 “Addressing the Threat to the Domestic Supply Chain From Reliance on Critical Minerals From Foreign Adversaries and Supporting the Domestic Mining and Processing Industries” Presidential Document (October 5, 2020). 
85 FR 63981 “Authorizing Express Pipeline, LLC, To Operate and Maintain Existing Pipeline Facilities at the International Boundary Between the United States and Canada” Presidential document (October 8, 2020). 
85 FR 63985 “Authorizing Front Range Pipeline, LLC, To Operate and Maintain Existing Pipeline Facilities at the International Boundary Between the United States and Canada” Presidential document (October 8, 2020).
85 FR 63989 “Authorizing NuStar Logistics, L.P., To Operate and Maintain Existing Pipeline Facilities at the International Boundary Between the United States and Mexico” Presidential document (October 8, 2020). 

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
85 FR 63108 “Iroquois Gas Transmission System, L.P.; Notice of Availability of The Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Enhancement by Compression Project” Notice (October 6, 2020). 
85 FR 63111 “Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Mainline 300 Replacement Project” Notice (October 6, 2020). 
85 FR 63107 “Northern Natural Gas Company; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Northern Lights 2021 Expansion Project” Notice (October 6, 2020). 
85 FR 63267 “Stingray Pipeline Company, L.L.C; Notice of Application” Notice (October 7, 2020). 
85 FR 63267 “Stingray Pipeline Company, L.L.C.; Notice of Application” Notice (October 7, 2020). 
85 FR 63269 “Tuscarora Gas Transmission Company; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Tuscarora Xpress Project” Notice (October 7, 2020). 
85 FR 63547 “UGI LNG, Inc; Notice of Request for Extension of Time” Notice (October 8, 2020). 

Safety Environmental Enforcement Bureau
85 FR 63574 “Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Oil and Gas Drilling Operations” Notice of information collection; request for comment (October 8, 2020). 

Environmental Protection Agency
85 FR 63394 “Test Methods and Performance Specifications for Air Emission Sources” Final Rule (October 7, 2020). 

House Energy and Commerce Committee Actions:
HR 8543 “To require the Secretary of Energy to establish a program to provide grants to improve power lines.” Referred to House Committee on Energy and Commerce (October 6, 2020). 

Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive ShaleLaw HotLinks:
Digital Platform To Help With Tracking Oil, Gas Emissions” AP News
Oil Prices Are Waiting To Rise, But Stimulus Will Not Be The Cure” Forbes
Construction To Start On Dakota Access Pipeline Pump Station In Emmons County” The Bismark Tribune
Battleground Voters Are Pragmatic On Energy” The Hill 
Colorado Roadmap Targets 80% Ghg Reduction From Power Sector By 2030, But Some See Greater Possibilities” Utility Drive   

Want to get updates, but prefer to listen? Check out the Shale Law Podcast! We can always be found on our Libsyn page, iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Shale Law Weekly Review—October 6, 2020


Written by: 
Jackie Schweichler – Staff Attorney
Sarah Straub – Research Assistant 
The following information is an update of recent local, state, national and international legal developments relevant to shale gas. 

Pipelines: Mountain Valley Pipeline Receives Permits to Move Project Forward
On September 25, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a letter to the Mountain Valley Pipeline Project reissuing Nationwide Permit 12 Verifications (NWP 12). This permits dredge and fill activities in navigational waters in Virginia and West Virginia and is a step towards the pipeline being completed. Also on this same date, a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the U.S. Forest Service was issued evaluating the effects of the pipeline’s construction on federal lands in Jefferson National Forest. The draft SEIS is available for comment until November 9. In response to the NWP 12 Verifications, Appalachia Valley Advocates wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice requesting that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision be stayed until a court can review the decision. On September 28, 2020, environmental groups initiated a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seeking judicial review of its re-issuance of the NWP 12 Verifications to Mountain Valley Pipeline.


Air Quality: Colorado State Agency Approves Rule on Oil and Gas Emissions 
On September 23, 2020, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission voted to approve a rule which is intended to limit emissions in oil and gas production. The rule will impose more stringent emissions tracking requirements, including monitoring emissions more frequently and tracking emissions from the time construction of the well begins through the first six months of the well’s production. The rulemaking is a result of Colorado legislation, Senate Bill 19-181, which modified the state’s laws on oil and gas regulation to prioritize both the environment and the public’s health, safety and welfare. 

Air Quality: EPA Modifies Rule to Allow Reclassifying of Major Sources
On October 1, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized modifications to a 1995 rule promulgated under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act known as “Once In, Always In.” The rule, summarized in EPA’s Fact Sheet, will allow major sources of hazardous pollutants that have reduced the amount of emissions they produce to be reclassified to area source status. Previously, under the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants General Provisions, major sources, once classified as a major source, could not be reclassified. This rule amends that policy to permit major sources achieving emissions standards the flexibility to be recategorized. EPA said in its news release that the changes in the rule “will encourage facilities to pursue innovations in pollution-reduction technologies and relieve regulatory requirements intended for much larger emitters.” 

From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts: 
Charles Sartain, My Operator is Making Money on the Well and I’m Not. What Can I Do? Part 1., (October 1, 2020)
John McFarland, Consent-to-assign Provisions in Oil and Gas Leases – Mayo Foundation v. BP America, (September 28, 2020) 
John McFarland, An Update: Dinosaur Fossils as “Minerals”, (October 2, 2020)

State Actions - Executive/Legislative
Pennsylvania Legislature:
HR 1018 “A Resolution recognizing the month of October 2020 as "Energy Awareness Month" in Pennsylvania.” INTRODUCED AS NONCONTROVERSIAL RESOLUTION UNDER RULE 35 (September 25, 2020). 
HB 2002 “An Act repealing the act of May 11, 1921 (P.L.479, No.225), entitled "An act imposing a State tax on anthracite coal; providing for the assessment and collection thereof; and providing penalties for the violation of this act.” Laid on the table, (September 30, 2020). 
HB 2795 “An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, in terms and courses of study, providing for science curriculum to include climate change.” Re-reported as committed from Education. (September 30, 2020). 
SB 745 “ An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in inspection of vehicles, further providing for prohibition on expenditures for emission inspection program.” Laid on the table, (September 30, 2020). 
HB 1106 “An Act amending the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175), known as The Administrative Code of 1929, providing for environmental permits and plan approvals; making related repeals; and abrogating regulations.” Removed from table, (October 1, 2020). 

Federal Actions - Executive/Legislative
Federal Executive Agencies—Actions and Notices:
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 
85 FR 60779 “Midship Pipeline Company, LLC; Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order” Notice (September 28, 2020). 
85 FR 61743 “ANR Pipeline Company, Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC; Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order” Notice (September 30, 2020). 
85 FR 61745 “Rover Pipeline LLC; Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order” Notice (September 30, 2020). 
85 FR 61948 “Rockies Express Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Initiation of Section 5 Proceeding” Notice (October 1, 2020). 
85 FR 61945 “Total Peaking Services, LLC; Notice of Request for Extension of Time” Notice (October 1, 2020). 
85 FR 61946 “Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization” Notice (October 1, 2020). 
85 FR 62297 “Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization” Notice (October 2, 2020). 

Energy Department
85 FR 60986 “Freeport LNG Expansion, L.P.; FLNG Liquefaction, LLC; FLNG Liquefaction 2, LLC; and FLNG Liquefaction 3, LLC; Application To Amend Export Term Through December 31, 2050, for Existing Non-Free Trade Agreement Authorizations” Notice of application (September 29, 2020). 
85 FR 61944 “Port Arthur LNG, LLC; Application To Amend Export Term Through December 31, 2050, for Existing Non-Free Trade Agreement Authorization” Notice of application (October 1, 2020). 
85 FR 61942 “Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC; Application To Amend Export Term Through December 31, 2050, for Existing Non-Free Trade Agreement Authorizations” Notice of application (October 1, 2020). 

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
85 FR 61101 “Pipeline Safety: Inside Meters and Regulators” Notice; issuance of advisory bulletin (September 29, 2020). 
85 FR 61097 “Pipeline Safety: Overpressure Protection on Low-Pressure Natural Gas Distribution Systems” Notice; issuance of advisory bulletin (September 29, 2020). 

Interior Department
85 FR 61966 “Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group; Final Phase 2 Restoration Plan #1.2 and Environmental Assessment: Barataria Basin Ridge and Marsh Creation Project, Spanish Pass Increment and Lake Borgne Marsh Creation Project Increment One; and Finding of No Significant Impact” Notice (October 1, 2020). 

Offices of Natural Resources Revenue 
85 FR 62016 “Consolidated Federal Oil and Gas and Federal and Indian Coal Valuation Reform” Final Rule (October 1, 2020). 

Presidential Documents
85 FR 62191 “Authorizing the Alaska to Alberta Railway Development Corporation To Construct, Connect, Operate, and Maintain Railway Facilities at the International Boundary Between the United States and Canada” Presidential document (October 2, 2020)

House Energy and Commerce Committee Actions:
H.R. 8487 “To prevent energy poverty in at-risk communities, and for other purposes” “Referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committees on Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, the Budget, and Rules.” (October 1, 2020). 
H.R. 362 “Energy Emergency Leadership Act” “Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources” (September 30, 2020). 
H.R. 8432 “To require the establishment of an advanced energy technology research initiative and an advanced energy technology and modeling grant program, and for other purposes” “Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology” (September 29, 2020). 

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee:
PM 59 “Presidential Message - A message from the President of the United States, transmitting, pursuant to law, a report relative to the issuance of an Executive Order declaring a national emergency to deal with the threat posed by our Nation's undue reliance on critical minerals, in processed or unprocessed form, from foreign adversaries; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resource” Referred to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (September 30, 2020). 


Want to get updates, but prefer to listen? Check out the Shale Law Podcast! We can always be found on our Libsyn page, iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher.





Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Shale Law Weekly Review - September 30, 2020

Written by: 
Jackie Schweichler – Staff Attorney
Sarah Straub – Research Assistant 

The following information is an update of recent local, state, national and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.

State Regulation: North Dakota’s Industrial Commission Amends Gas Capture Guidance Policy 
On September 22, 2020, the Industrial Commission of North Dakota approved revisions made to the Gas Capture Guidance Policy which regulates gas capture in the Bakken region’s oil fields. The Gas Capture Guidance policy states two goals: reducing the amount of flared gas while increasing the amount of captured gas and creating incentives for investments to be made towards infrastructure which captures gas. Through the policy, the Commission set a goal of increasing gas capture from 88% to 91% by November 1st of this year. The revisions also amend the definition of stranded gas to include spacing units which have not had drilling activity within them in the past five years to encourage development in those areas.  

LNG Infrastructure: Environmental Groups Petition Court for Review of Alaska LNG Project 
On September 21, 2020, several environmental groups filed a petition for review of the Alaska LNG Project (Project) in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  The environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club, initially petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commision (FERC) for rehearing on June 22, 2020. (Docket No. CP17-178-000). In the petition, the environmental groups argue that the Project is not in the public interest, and approval violates the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. 

From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts:  
Charles Sartain, Lessons from an Operating Agreement Dispute (September 25, 2020) 
John McFarland, EIA Data on US Energy Flow 2019 (September 23, 2020) 
Romany Webb, The Law Of Enhanced Weathering For Co2 Removal: A New Sabin Center White Paper (September 22, 2020)

Agency Press Releases - State/Federal 

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: 
DEP Completes Review, Approves Permit Modification Requests for Mariner East 2 in Delaware and Chester Counties, (September 22, 2020) 
DEP Collects $736,000 from TransCo for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Violations, (September 22, 2020)

State Actions - Executive/Legislative

Pennsylvania Legislature: 
SB 1173 “An Act amending the act of January 8, 1960 (1959 P.L.2119, No.787), known as the Air Pollution Control Act, further providing for advice to department.” Re-referred to Appropriations (September 21, 2020). 
SB 1305 “An Act amending the act of November 30, 2004 (P.L.1672, No.213), known as the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, providing for location of Tier II sources.” Referred to Environmental Resources and Energy (September 21, 2020). 
HB 2025 “An Act authorizing the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a public comment process on and submit to the General Assembly a measure or action intended to abate, control or limit carbon dioxide emissions by imposing a revenue-generating tax or fee on carbon dioxide emissions.” Veto No. 12 (September 24, 2020). 

House Environmental Resources and Energy
Voting meeting on September 30, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. on HB 707, HB 2002, HB 2197 and any other business that may come before the committee. 
Informational meeting September 30, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. on spill reporting requirements under the Clean Streams Law and SB 619.

Federal Actions - Executive/Legislative

Federal Executive Agencies—Actions and Notices:
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 
85 FR 59299 “Notice of Orders Issued Under Section 3 of The Natural Gas Act During August 2020” Notice (September 21, 2020). 
85 FR 59297 “Freeport LNG Expansion, L.P. and FLNG Liquefaction 4, LLC; Application To Amend Export Term Through December 31, 2050, for Existing Non-Free Trade Agreement Authorization” Notice (September 21, 2020). 
85 FR 59302 “Delaware River Partners LLC; Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order” Notice (September 21, 2020). 
85 FR 59779 “Northern Natural Gas Company; Notice of Availability of the Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Clifton to Palmyra A-Line Abandonment Project” Notice (September 23, 2020). 
85 FR 59778 “Rockies Express Pipeline LLC; Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order” Notice (September 23, 2020). 
85 FR 60153 “Magnolia LNG, LLC; Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline LLC; Notice of Request for Extension of Time” Notice (September 24, 2020). 
85 FR 60155 “Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Notice of Application Tendered for Filing With the Commission and Soliciting Additional Study Requests and Establishing Procedural Schedule for Relicensing and Deadline for Submission of Final Amendments” Notice (September 24, 2020). 
85 FR 60154 “Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization; Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC” Notice (September 24, 2020). 
85 FR 60454 “Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization; Northwest Pipeline LLC” Notice (September 25, 2020). 
Interior Department 
85 FR 59821 “Notice of Teleconference Meeting of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Public Advisory Committee” Meeting notice (September 23, 2020). 
Environmental Protection Agency 
85 FR 60157 “Notice of Final Approval for an Alternative Means of Emission Limitation” Notice; final approval (September 24, 2020). 
Ocean Energy Management Bureau 
85 FR 60266 “Notice on Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Lease Sales” Notice (September 24, 2020). 

House Energy and Commerce Committee Actions: 
HR 4447 Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act of 2019 “This bill requires the Department of Energy to award grants to assist rural electric cooperatives with identifying, evaluating, designing, and demonstrating energy storage and microgrid projects that utilize energy from renewable energy sources.” “The Clerk was authorized to correct section numbers, punctuation, and cross references, and to make other necessary technical and conforming corrections in the engrossment of H.R. 4447” (September 24, 2020). 

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee: 
S. 4727 “A bill to require the establishment of an advanced energy technology research initiative and an advanced energy technology and modeling grant program, and for other purposes.” “Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources” (September 24, 2020). 
S. 4725 “A bill to establish programs to facilitate the commercial application of clean energy and related technologies in the United States.” “Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources” (September 24, 2020). 
S. 4642 “A bill to amend the Mineral Leasing Act to ensure sufficient bonding and complete and timely reclamation of land and water disturbed by Federal and Indian oil and gas production, and for other purposes” “Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources” (September 22, 2020). 
S. 4641 “A bill to amend the Mineral Leasing Act to provide for transparency and landowner protections in the conduct of lease sales under that Act, and for other purposes” “Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources” (September 22, 2020).  

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Mountain Valley Seeks to Resume Construction Of Pipeline” The Roanoke Times 
Colorado Oil, Gas Industry Ramps Up Opposition To Bigger Buffers for Fracking Sites” The Denver Times 
Refiners Shifting Toward Renewable Diesel” Oil and Gas Journal 
U.S. Weekly LNG Exports Almost Double” LNG World News 
Plugging Abandoned Oil Wells Is One ‘Green New Deal’ Aspect Loved By Both Republicans And Democrats” Forbes

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