Jackie Schweichler – Staff Attorney
Sarah Straub – Research Assistant
The following information is an update of recent local, state, national and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.
Valley Pipeline Requests Extension of Time to Complete Pipeline
On August 25, 2020, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC submitted an application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for an extension of time to complete the Mountain Valley Pipeline Project. FERC published notice of the application in the Federal Register at 85 FR 54553 on September 2, 2020. Mountain Valley cited various lawsuits and permitting issues as reasons for the delay in the project’s progress. Mountain Valley has requested that FERC extend the deadline for the project’s completion from October 13, 2020, until October 13, 2022.
Pipelines: Petition for
Preliminary Injunction to Halt Permian Highway Pipeline Denied
On August 28, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas issued an order denying Sierra Club’s Petition for Preliminary Injunction that sought to enjoin construction at various points on the Permian Highway Pipeline. Sierra Club alleged in its complaint that construction of the Permian Highway Pipeline had been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act. The court denied the petition finding that Sierra Club failed to show that it faced immediate and irreparable harm, but noted that it had “come close” because of the amount of evidence it produced showing environmental harm.
Pipelines: North Dakota
Public Service Commission Approves Two Pipeline Projects
On August 26, 2020, the North Dakota Public Service Commission approved two separate pipeline projects. The Commission approved OE2 North, LLC’s construction application for two new pipelines in Williams County, ND (PU-20-247). One pipeline, spanning 1.28 miles, will transport LNG from the Bill Sanderson Gas Plant to a connection point with a ONEOK pipeline. The other pipeline will transport residue gas along its 4.67-mile route. The Commission also approved Dakota Prairie Refining, LLC’s application to convert its existing pipelines from transporting crude oil to liquid soy products and renewable diesel fuel (PU-20-263).
Pipelines: Columbia Gas
of Ohio, Inc. Issued Certificate for Marysville Connector Pipeline Project
On August 27, 2020, the Ohio Power Siting Board issued an Order & Opinion stating that Columbia Gas of Ohio, Inc. will be granted a certificate to construct, operate, and maintain the Marysville Connector Pipeline in Union County, Ohio. Columbia submitted its application on December 20, 2019 for the certificate to construct the natural gas line spanning 4.78 miles and providing natural gas to new industrial and residential customers, in addition to existing customers. Construction on the pipeline is expected to begin late next year and should begin providing service to customers by 2022. The Marysville Connector Pipeline is designed to connect to the Columbus Northern Loop, whose application is pending before the Ohio Power Siting Board.
From the National Oil
& Gas Law Experts:
Charles Sartain & Rusty Tucker, Lignite Lease Prevails Over Pipeline Easement (September 2, 2020).
John McFarland, Corpus Christi Court of Appeals Opines on Post-Production Costs (September 3, 2020).
Christine Weniger, What Could New York State’s Proposed Environmental Rights Amendment Achieve? (September 1, 2020)
AGENCY PRESS RELEASES—STATE/FEDERAL
of Environmental Protection Press Releases:
Wolf Administration Announces $25 Million for Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation and Economic Development Projects (September 2, 2020)
Wolf Administration Announces $2 Million for COVID PEDA Restart Grants (August 31, 2020)
U.S. Department of
Energy Press Releases:
Department of Energy Invests $72 Million in Carbon Capture Technologies (September 1, 2020)
Protection Agency Press Releases:
In Cheyenne, EPA Announces Wyoming’s Primacy for Class VI Underground Injection Control Program, Highlights Final Power Plant Effluent Limitation Guidelines Rule (September 4, 2020)
HB 247 “An Act amending Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, in development, further providing for well permits.” Removed
from table (September 1, 2020) (House)
SB 950 “An Act authorizing the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a public comment process on and submit to the General Assembly a measure or action intended to abate, control or limit carbon dioxide emissions by imposing a revenue-generating tax or fee on carbon dioxide emissions.” First consideration (September 3, 2020) (Senate)
HB 2025 “An Act authorizing the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a public comment process on and submit to the General Assembly a measure or action intended to abate, control or limit carbon dioxide emissions by imposing a revenue-generating tax or fee on carbon dioxide emissions.” First consideration (September 3, 2020) (House)
Resources and Energy
Informational meeting on September 16, 2020 in Room 60 of the East Wing on recycling efforts in Pennsylvania as they apply to solar panels and HB 2197.
Executive Agencies—Actions and Notices:
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
85 FR 55277 “National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation; Notice of Request for Extension of Time” Notice (September 4, 2020) Comment period open for 15 days
85 FR 54553 “Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Request for Extension of Time” Notice (September 2, 2020)
85 FR 54373 “Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed VR-22 to Shore Abandonment Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues” Notice (September 1, 2020) To ensure timely submission, submit comments by September 25, 2020.
85 FR 54371 “Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the East 300 Upgrade Project” Notice (September 1, 2020)
85 FR 53807 “Golden Pass LNG Terminal LLC; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of The Golden Pass Amendment Project” Notice (August 31, 2020)
85 FR 54363 “Secretary Of Energy Advisory Board” Notice of Renewal (September 1, 2020)
85 FR 54311 “Oil and Gas Resources” Proposed Rule (September 1, 2020) Comments must be received by November 2, 2020.
Safety and Environmental Enforcement Bureau
85 FR 55029 “Agency Information Collection Activities; Pipelines and Pipeline Rights-of-Way (ROW)” Notice of information collection; request for comment (September 3, 2020) Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before November 2, 2020.
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior
85 FR 55021 “Energy and Mineral Development Program (EMDP); Solicitation of Proposals” Notice (September 3, 2020) Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on December 2, 2020.
HR 8175 “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose a tax on fossil fuels and to use the revenues for economic benefit” Referred to Committee on Energy and Commerce (September 4, 2020)
Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive ShaleLaw HotLinks:
“Companies Work to Curb Oil, Gas Methane Emissions” Houston Chronicle
“Army Corp Of Engineers Defends Dakota Access Permitting” Oil & Gas Journal
“Fifteen Attorneys General Ask Court To Find LNG Rail Regulations Unlawful” Oil & Gas Journal
“Major Drilling Projects Among Dozens Fast-tracked After Trump Order” The Hill
“Pa. Natural Gas Production Increases 2.8% in Q2” Shale Gas Reporter
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