Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Shale Law Weekly Review - August 8, 2017

Written by Jacqueline Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator

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

Energy: EIA Report Ranks Wyoming as Top Energy Exporter from 1960-2015
On July 31, 2017, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a report ranking the top energy supplying states. From 1960-2015, the top net energy supplier was the state of Wyoming, followed by Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Dakota. The EIA found that twelve states produced more energy than they consumed during this time period. In Wyoming, the primary source of energy production was coal and the state accounted for over 40% of national coal production in 2015. Pennsylvania, however, only became a net energy exporter after the increase in shale gas development between 2010 and 2016.

Pipelines: FERC Releases Review and Analysis of Horizontal Drilling for Rover Pipeline
On July 31, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released the third-party review of horizontal drilling activities associated with the Rover Pipeline. The review was completed by J.D. Hair & Associates (JDH&A) who recommend that third party inspectors should monitor and document future horizontal directional drilling activities. JDH&A also recommend that inspectors should be employed full-time “when drilling fluid circulation has been lost.” Additional recommendations included increased monitoring, technical structure changes, and the creation of a program to minimize fluid loss.
Regulations: Court Issues Mandate Enforcing Ruling Against EPA
On July 31, 2017, the United State Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a mandate enforcing their ruling against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA). The case was brought by several environmental organizations who challenged the EPA when they issued a stay of their emission standards rule (Clean Air Council v. Pruit, No. 17-1145). The rule, “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources” is intended to improve implementation of new source performance standards and sets new requirements for greenhouse gases and volatile organic compounds. The court held that the “EPA lacked authority under the Clean Air Act to stay the rule.” The press release issued by the EPA can be found here.

Fuel Production: API Releases Study Showing Economic Impact of Fuel Production in PA
On August 1, 2017, Energy API Pennsylvania (API) released a study on the impact of energy production in Pennsylvania for 2015. According to the study, oil and gas development in Pennsylvania supports almost 322,600 jobs and provides close to $23 billion in wages. Additionally, API reports that the fuel industry has an overall economic impact of nearly $44.5 billion. The complete study, Impacts of the Oil and Natural Gas Industry on the US Economy in 2015, can be found here.

Legislation: Senator Introduces New Pennsylvania Bills Affecting Pipeline Development
On July 24, 2017, State Senator Andy Dinniman announced the introduction of several new bills affecting drilling operations in Chester County and Pennsylvania. Dinniman introduced Senate Bill 605 would establish an impact fee payable to counties affected by the pipeline. Senate Bill 547 would allow local governments and school districts to impose a tax on pipelines transporting natural gas or hazardous liquids. Finally, Senate Bill 835, “calls for holding pipeline land agents accountable by defining their role and requiring registration with the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission.”

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