Monday, October 22, 2018

Shale Law Weekly Review - October 22, 2018

Written by:
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.

Methane Emissions: EPA Publishes Proposed Rule to Amend Emission Standards Rule
On October 15, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published the proposed rule, Emission Standards for New Reconstructed, and Modified Sources Reconsideration.  The proposed rule will amend and clarify various aspects of the 2016 new source performance standards (NSPS).  Specifically, the proposed rule will make changes to pneumatic pump requirements, fugitive emissions requirements, professional engineering certification, and alternative means of emissions limitations.  The proposed rule also addresses well completion requirements and implementation issues.  According to EPA, under the proposed rule, there will be increases in volatile organic compound and hazardous air pollutant emissions.  The 2016 rule set standards for methane emissions in order to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

Municipal Regulation: Ohio Supreme Court Declines to Review Anti-Fracking Initiative Ruling
On October 5, 2018, the Ohio Supreme Court issued an order denying a motion to reconsider its decision regarding an anti-fracking initiative proposed in Franklin County (State of Ohio, et al., v. Franklin County Board of Elections, et al.,  Case No. 2018-1221). The court, which issued its opinion in September 2018, found that the city lacked the power to enact the proposed ordinance, which sought to ban hydraulic fracturing within the county. The initiative, called the Community Bill of Rights, sought to protect rights including “Potable Water,” “Clean Air,” “Safe Soil,” “Peaceful Enjoyment of Home” and the “Right to be Free from Toxic Trespass.”

Pipelines: FERC Grants Permit to Atlantic Coast Pipeline for Tree Felling Along Route
On October 16, 2018 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted  Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s (ACP) request to begin non-mechanized tree-felling along part of its route in Buckingham County, Virginia.  FERC approved the request after reviewing Dominion Energy Transmissions and ACP’s Implementation Plan.  FERC found that the plan meets the environmental conditions in the Order Issuing Certificates from October 2017.  The pipeline, once constructed by Dominion Energy, will carry roughly 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina. The project is expected to be complete in late 2019.

Pipelines: Landowners Suing Dakota Access Pipeline Appear in Federal Appellate Court
On October 18, 2018, landowners suing the developers of the Dakota Access pipeline appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, arguing that the lower court had not dismissed all of their claims. According to Hart Energy, the plaintiffs argued that the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota had dismissed only their claims that the developers had acquired land easements through fraud. They argue that their complaint also contains allegations of “harassment, threat, intimidation, misrepresentation, [and] deception” that would be unaffected by the lower court’s dismissal.

From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts:
Charles Sartain, Rejection of Mid-Stream Agreements Upheld...Again, Gray Reed (October 18, 2018)

John McFarland, Oil and Gas News, Oil and Gas Lawyer Blog (October 16, 2018)

Pennsylvania Legislation
HB 2746: Referred to Consumer Affairs (October 19, 2018) legislation would prohibit natural gas lines from being built within 100 meters from a “dwelling house.”

HB 2154: Re-reported as committed from Appropriations (Oct. 17, 2108) act would re-enact Oil and Gas Act of 1984 with various changes

Pennsylvania Notices
Upcoming Meetings: Environmental Resources and Energy (H) voting meeting on SB 138 (October 9, 2018)

Availability of Final Erosion and Sediment Control General Permit-3 for Earth Disturbance Associated with Oil and Gas Exploration, Production, Processing or Treatment Operations or Facilities (October 6, 2018)

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