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.
Pipelines: FERC Declares New York Waived Its Right to Deny Permit for Millennium Pipeline
On September 15, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a declaratory order finding that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (New York) waived its authority to deny a water quality certification to Millennium Pipeline Company L.L.C. (Millennium). FERC declared that New York failed to act within one year of receipt of the permit application, as required by the Clean Water Act. New York had denied Millennium’s water quality certification on August 30, 2017, stating that Millennium failed to adequately account for downstream greenhouse gases. New York received the original permit application November 23, 2015, but argued that the permit was not “complete” until August 31, 2016. The FERC order rejected this argument and concluded that the “one-year” period begins upon “the date a certification application is filed with the relevant agency.”
Federal Lands: Appeals Court Dismisses Case Regarding Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal Lands
On September 21, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit dismissed the appeals in a lawsuit regarding the regulation of hydraulic fracturing on federal lands (Wyoming v. Zinke, No. 16-8068). The case revolves around the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) rule, Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands, which was challenged by several states and oil and gas associations. The court dismissed the case and declared the case to be unripe because BLM is in the process of rescinding the rule. Additionally, the court vacated the district court’s judgment that BLM did not have the statutory authority to promulgate the regulation.
Pipelines: FERC Allows Rover Pipeline to Resume Horizontal Drilling After May 2017 Spill
On September 18, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted permission for Rover Pipeline, LLC (Rover) to resume pipeline construction. Drilling was suspended in May 2017 after 2 million gallons of drilling fluid was spilled at the Tuscarawas River site. FERC found that Rover “has sufficiently satisfied the obligations imposed by Commission Staff.” Rover was required to develop a set of protocols and procedures to prevent future spills and to provide third-party independent inspectors to oversee horizontal drilling sites.
Pipelines: Ohio to Begin Civil Action Against Rover Pipeline After Spills
On September 22, 2017, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) issued a Notice of Violation to Energy Transfer Company (Energy) for violations associated with their Rover Pipeline Project. According to the Ohio EPA press release, on September 21, 2017, Energy allowed “soap wastewater and soil/sediment” to spill into a waterway in Carroll County, Ohio. The spill affected 500 feet of waterway and contaminated 6,000 gallons of water. This notice was the 13th notice of environmental violations issued for the Rover pipeline in Ohio this year. Ohio EPA has now referred the case to the Ohio Attorney General after Energy refused to pay “an appropriate civil penalty.”
LNG Exports: Department of Energy Approves LNG Export Application for Eagle LNG Partners
On September 15, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) approved liquefied natural gas (LNG) export applications from Eagle LNG Partners Jacksonville II LLC (Eagle). Eagle is approved to export worldwide 0.01 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of domestically produced LNG. Eagle intends to export to Caribbean Basin markets and expects the facility to be operational in 2017. The DOE approval order found that the application for FTA (free trade agreement) countries was “consistent with the public interest” and that the application for non-FTA countries received no public comment and was therefore uncontested.
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Utah Joins Growing List Of States Tackling Oil And Gas Pollution - Breaking Energy
"Manchin calls Pennsylvania cracker plant 'renaissance of opportunity'" - WV State Journal
"North Dakota gas output set record in July” - Argus Media
"Virginia's environmental agency to press ahead on pipeline permits ... " - Richmond Times-Dispatch
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See our Global Shale Law Compendium and this week’s article, Shale Governance in Brazil.
Check out this week’s Shale Law in the Spotlight: Update - The Delaware River Basin Commission’s Regulatory Actions on Natural Gas Development.
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