Brennan Weintraub - Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler - Staff Attorney
The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.
National Energy Policy: President Trump Issues Executive Orders Related to Oil and Gas Industry
On April 10, 2019, President Trump issued two executive orders related to the national regulation of the oil and gas industry. The first, Executive Order on Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth, alters federal regulations to allow liquefied natural gas to be transported in rail tank cars. This order also requires the EPA Administrator to change federal guidance related to water quality certifications under §401 of the Clean Water Act. The second, Order on the Issuance of Permits with Respect to Facilities and Land Transportation Crossings at the International Boundaries of the United States, requires the Secretary of State to adopt new procedures reducing the time required for cross-border infrastructure permit approval to sixty days. This executive order will affect facilities used for the exportation or importation of all products to or from a foreign country, including pipelines.
Public Lands: U.S. Court of Appeals Dismisses Waste Prevention Rule Lawsuit
On April 9, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued an order dismissing as moot a lawsuit brought by several states and members of the oil and gas industry challenging the Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Rule (State of Wyoming v. United States Department of the Interior, Nos. 18-8207 and 18-8209) (p.10). The rule placed limits on venting and flaring of natural gas wells and imposed reporting requirements on operators. The rule was substantially altered by a new version of the rule issued by the Bureau of Land Management in September of 2018 (p. 3-4). The lower court had enjoined portions of the original Waste Prevention Rule, but this court vacated that decision and dismissed the appeals as moot (p.8-10).
Pipelines: Pinelands Commission Delays Vote to Revoke South Jersey Gas Project Approval
On April 12, 2019, the New Jersey Pinelands Commission (Commission) voted to delay acting on a resolution which would revoke permission for the building of a natural gas line in the Pinelands National Reserve. The project is designed as a 22-mile and 24-inch natural gas pipeline which was intended to repower the BL England electrical generation plant (BLE plant). In February of 2019, the operator of the BLE plant decided not to repower the plant with natural gas. As a result, the Commission prepared a resolution which would revoke permission for the project, because the project would no longer “serve only the needs of the Pinelands.” Upon receipt of a letter from South Jersey Gas, the Commission decided to delay action in order to provide the New Jersey Attorney General time to review the new information.
State/Territorial Regulation: Puerto Rico Sets Renewable Energy Standards
On April 11, 2019, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares signed a new Public Energy Policy Law which will compel a decrease in the territory’s use of fossil fuels. According to the press release, the purpose of the new law is to modernize the energy grid with new technology and renewable energy. The law includes a plan to eliminate 20 percent of fossil fuel use by 2022 and 60 percent by 2040. Under the plan, Puerto Rico will aim to rely on 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Since 2015, Hawaii, California, and New Mexico have issued similar renewable energy bills.
From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts:
George Bibikos, At the Well Weekly, (April 12, 2019)
Charles Sartain, Colorado Rewrites the Rules of Oil and Gas Exploration, (April 9, 2019)
John McFarland, The Law of Hydraulic Fracturing, (April 9, 2019)
HB 1151: makes appropriations from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Referred to Appropriations - April 8, 2019)
Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive ShaleLaw HotLinks:
“U.S. House Democrats want pipeline safety mandates implemented sooner” - Oil & Gas Journal
“As U.S. shale oil exports rise, pricing focus will shift to Gulf Coast” - Houston Chronicle
“Shell lays out nature investment plan to cut CO2 emissions” - LNG World News
“Frackers, chasing fast oil output, are on a treadmill” - Wall Street Journal
“Pennsylvania’s energy future pivots on what Harrisburg does with all this gas, deliberators decide” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Climate cases set the stage for oil and gas leasing reform” - High Country News
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