Monday, November 9, 2020

Shale Law Weekly Review - November 9, 2020

Written by: 
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.

Pipelines: Michigan Limits Scope of Hearings on Enbridge Line 5 Tunnel 
On October 23, 2020, the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules issued a ruling on the Motion in Limine submitted by Enbridge to limit the scope and evidence presented in upcoming hearings before the Michigan Public Service Commission regarding construction of Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac.  In the decision, the agency determined that it was necessary for the Commission to consider the Utility Tunnel’s design, construction, and operation in the construction of the pipeline.  The Commission must also consider the Utility Tunnel to determine that Enbridge has undertaken good faith efforts to limit the pipeline’s physical and economic impacts.  Enbridge’s request that the Commission not consider public need and safety issues for the entire length of Line 5 was granted, limiting the scope of the hearing.  The agency’s decision also found that evidence of the environmental impacts of processes related to extracting, refining, or consuming oil was not relevant to the Commission’s consideration of the pipeline as a form of transportation.  Because of this, the Commission will not consider evidence pertaining to greenhouse gas emissions or climate change. 

LNG Exports: Department of Energy Approves Extension of Three LNG Export Authorizations Through 2050
On October 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy released a statement notifying the public that it extended the terms of three liquified natural gas projects export authorizations until December 31, 2050.  The Department of Energy’s actions extend term authorizations for Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass in Louisiana, Corpus Christi LNG in Texas, and Sempra Energy’s Port Arthur in Texas.  The extensions permit these companies to export liquified natural gas to both free trade and non-free trade countries through the end of the year 2050.  The authorizations were made pursuant to the Department of Energy’s final policy statement published in July 2020 at 85 FR 52237

From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts: 
George A. Bibikos, At the Well Weekly, Art. 1, sec. 27 (Oct. 23, 2020). 
Charles Sartain, Status as a Common Carrier Denied by a Texas Court (Oct. 27, 2020). 
John McFarland, Mineral Title Dispute Before Texas Supreme Court (Oct. 28, 2020). 

AGENCY PRESS RELEASES—STATE/FEDERAL

U.S. Department of Energy Press Releases: 
DOE Extends Additional LNG Export Authorizations Through 2050 (Oct. 28, 2020).  
Department of Energy to Provide $24 Million in EPSCoR Grants for Energy-Related Research (Oct. 27, 2020).

STATE ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE/LEGISLATIVE

Pennsylvania Executive Agencies (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 50, No. 44—Oct. 31, 2020) 

FEDERAL ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE/LEGISLATIVE

Federal Executive Agencies (Federal Register Oct. 26–30, 2020): 

Energy Department
85 FR 68569 Notice of application: “Driftwood LNG LLC; Application To Amend Export Term for Existing Long-Term Authorization Through December 31, 2050” (Oct. 29, 2020). 
Environmental Protection Agency
85 FR 67665 Rule—Denial of petition for reconsideration: “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Petroleum Refinery Sector: Action Denying a Petition for Reconsideration” (Oct. 26, 2020). 
85 FR 68871 Notice—Comment Periods: “Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of Availability” (Oct. 30, 2020). 
85 FR 68873 Notice—Comment Periods: “Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives: Gasoline Volatility (Renewal)” (Oct. 30, 2020). 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
85 FR 67724 Notice: “Notice of Application and Establishing Intervention Deadline; Golden Pass Pipeline LLC” (Oct. 26, 2020). 
85 FR 67733 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Scoping Period Requesting Comments on Environmental Issues for the Planned LA Storage, LLC Hackberry Storage Project” (Oct. 26, 2020). 
85 FR 68063 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Scoping Period Requesting Comments on Environmental Issues for the Proposed Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC East Lateral Xpress Project” (Oct. 27, 2020). 
85 FR 68065 Notice: “Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the VR-22 to Shore Abandonment Project” (Oct. 27, 2020). 
85 FR 68324 Notice: “Spire Storage West LLC; Notice of Application and Establishing Intervention Deadline” (Oct. 28, 2020). 
85 FR 68323 Notice: “National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation and Empire Pipeline, Inc.; Notice of Request for Extension of Time” (Oct. 28, 2020). 
85 FR 68863 Notice: “Transwestern Pipeline Company, LLC; Notice of Application and Establishing Intervention Deadline” (Oct. 30, 2020). 
Land Management Bureau
85 FR 68087 Notice of Availability: “Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative (WPCI) Resource Management Plan Amendments to 9 BLM-Wyoming Resource Management Plans” (Oct. 27, 2020). 
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration 
85 FR 68953 Notice—Comment Period: “Pipeline Safety: Request for Special Permit; Columbia Gulf Transmission, L.L.C.” (Oct. 30, 2020). 

U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee

H.R. 3623 “Climate Risk Disclosure Act of 2019” Placed on the Union Calendar (Oct. 27, 2020).
H.R. 8671 “To establish the Committee on Large-Scale Carbon Management in the National Science and Technology Council and a Federal Carbon Removal Initiative, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce (Oct. 23, 2020). 

Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw—Top #ShaleLaw HotLinks Oct. 26-30, 2020:
Court Urged to Reverse BLM Fracking Rule Rollback Over NEPA, E&E News Publishings
U.S. Oil Production Will Not Return Soon to Pre-Pandemic Levels, Energy Secretary Says, Reuters 
4 Election Battles Could Overhaul U.S. Oil and Gas, E&E News Publishings
Trump Mulling Executive Order For Government Fracking Analysis, Fox Business 
Global Emissions From Fuel Consumption Likely Peaked Last Year: Research, Reuters

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