Brennan Weintraub - Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator
The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.
GHG Emissions: California Federal Court Dismisses Climate Change Suits Against Major Oil Companies
On June 25, 2018, the Northern District of California federal court dismissed several lawsuits against major oil companies for failure to state a justiciable claim. The cities of San Francisco and Oakland, California sued Chevron Corp, Exxon Mobil Corp, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, and BP Plc for their alleged role in climate change affecting those cities. The plaintiffs sought monetary damages for flooding which, the plaintiffs claim, was caused by climate change. A similar lawsuit by New York City is currently pending in New York federal court.
Methane Emissions: Exxon and Chevron Join Together to Address Methane Emissions
On June 25, 2018, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and several other energy organizations announced the creation of the Collaboratory for Advancing Methane Science (CAMS). The goal of the organization will be to reduce methane emissions created in the oil and natural gas industry. Exxon had previously pledged that it would seek to curb its methane emissions by fifteen percent by 2020.
LNG: FERC Releases Favorable Environmental Findings for Rhode Island Gas Project
On June 25, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an environmental assessment finding that the proposed Fields Point Liquefaction Project in Rhode Island “would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” The project would be based in Providence, Rhode Island and would provide liquified natural gas throughout New England. FERC will be accepting public comments on the project through July 25.
Pipelines: Minnesota PUC Gives Final Approval to Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Replacement
On June 28, 2018, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission gave its final approval for Enbridge, a natural gas distributor, to rebuild its Line 3 pipeline, according to Reuters. The pipeline was originally built in 1968 and is currently able to operate at only half of its original capacity, creating bottlenecks for Canadian producers trying to move crude oil into the United States. The rebuild has been opposed by several environmental and Native American groups in the area. The pipeline will take a new path south of the Leech Lake Reserve, which the original pipeline crossed, before reaching the company’s terminal on Lake Superior.
From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts:
“New Ohio tax law clarifies and expands sales and use tax exemptions for the oil and gas industry” Mark Snider, PorterWright (June 28, 2018)
HB 1401 An act amending the Tax Reform Code, providing for volumetric severance tax; and making a related repeal (removed from table, June 25, 2018)
HB 2121 Commonwealth Budget 2018-2019 (signed by Governor, June 22, 2018)
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“Iowa train derailment: Hazmat team on scene after oil leaks into river” - Des Moines Register
“Industry slams ‘alarmist’ methane study” - E&E News
“Still searching for New York water permit, Constitution pipeline delays completion until 2020” - Natural Gas Intel
“Presbyterian Church votes to retain its investments in fossil fuels” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Energy industry continues to court younger, more diverse workforce” - New Pittsburgh Courier
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This week we published our Shale Law in the Spotlight: Overview of Legal Developments Relating to Shale Gas Development in the Greater Chaco Area of New Mexico; and Pennsylvania DEP Finalizes General Permits for Methane Emissions from Unconventional Natural Gas Production, Processing, and Transmission
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