Monday, April 29, 2019

Shale Law Weekly Review - April 29, 2019

Written by:
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.

LNG Exports: Driftwood LNG Export Project Receives FERC Authorization
On April 18, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted its authorization for the proposed Driftwood LNG export project to be constructed south of Lake Charles, Louisiana.  When the project is completed, it is expected to have an export capacity of up to 27.6 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year and will serve both domestic and foreign markets. The project will include the construction of a 96-mile pipeline, a 3.4-mile lateral pipeline, and fifteen meter stations.  The project will also include three new compressor stations to transport natural gas to the Driftwood site for liquefaction and eventual export.

National Energy Policy: EPA Declines to Include Oil and Gas in RCRA Regulations
On April 24, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that, following extensive review, it would not be amending its policy excluding oil and gas waste from federal environmental regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (p.155-56). The original decision to exclude these wastes from RCRA regulation, made in 1988, relied on cooperation between the agency and the states to improve existing state waste management programs (p.152-53). After being sued in 2016 for its failure to revise these regulations, EPA undertook a study of state regulations and the development of the industry in the intervening years (p.152-53). The agency ultimately determined that existing state regulatory systems are sufficient to handle the waste produced and that revisions to the existing EPA policy are not necessary at this time (p.155-56).

LNG Exports: FERC Issues FEIS for Annova Brownsville LNG Export Project
On April 19, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a final environmental impact statement for the proposed Annova Brownsville LNG export terminal on the Texas Gulf Coast. The proposed terminal, which will be built on the Brownsville Ship Channel near the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to have an export capacity of 6.95 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year. FERC determined that, while there would be significant adverse environmental impacts associated with the project, including to several federally listed species, the impacts could be reduced through mitigation measures.

State Regulation: Washington State Legislature Passes Bill Requiring 100 Percent Clean Energy by 2045
On April 22, 2019, the Washington State Legislature gave final approval to SB5116, which requires the state to eliminate coal-fired electricity production by 2025, achieve carbon-neutral production by 2030, and entirely attain carbon-free energy production by 2045 (p.1). The bill also requires electric utilities to make energy assistance funds available to low-income households beginning in July of 2021 (p.28-30). The bill has now been sent to the desk of Governor Jay Inslee, who indicated in a news release that he plans to sign the bill.

From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts:
Charles Sartain, Broad Settlement Discharges Mineral Liens, (April 29, 2019)

Conrad Hester and Zach Gaver, Executive Right or Executive Obligation?, (April 23, 2019)

Pennsylvania Legislation:
SB 584: would require the use of fiber optics to monitor pressure changes and vibrations in pipelines to indicate leaks or impacts (Referred to Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure - April 25, 2019)

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