Friday, December 11, 2020

Shale Law Weekly Review - December 11, 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.

State Regulation: Pennsylvania Governor Vetoes Amendment to Conventional Oil and Gas Act 
On November 25, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vetoed a bill that would have amended the Conventional Oil and Gas Act. The purpose of the changes in SB 790 was to alleviate challenges faced by conventional oil drillers stemming from Act 13 regulations imposed on them after the Pennsylvania Marcellus shale boom in 2012. Among other revisions, the bill would have decreased reporting requirements for spills and would have permitted wastewater to be used on roads to reduce dust. In the veto, the governor stated that he would not sign the bill into law because the amended bill did not sufficiently guard the environment and public’s health and safety and did not sufficiently protect the state’s natural resources. 

Pipelines: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Issues Construction Stormwater Permit to Enbridge 
On November 30, 2020, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued a construction stormwater permit to Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement project. Enbridge is required to comply with the permit which compels the company to reduce erosion and prevent sediment pollution throughout the construction process. The stormwater construction permit was the final permit needed in order to begin construction on the pipeline. In a statement, Enbridge noted that because it has now received all of the permits required to begin the project, construction on the Line 3 Replacement project may begin, but it did not announce a date on which construction will commence.

From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts: 
John McFarland, Another Case on Post-Production Costs (Dec. 3, 2020) 
Romany Webb, Why Electric Utilities Must Engage In Climate Resilience Planning (Dec. 3, 2020)


United States Department of Energy Press Releases: 

Department of Energy Announces 2020 U.S. Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Awardees (Dec. 1, 2020). 

U.S. Departments of the Interior and Energy Launch New Collaboration for Improved Safety and Environmental Stewardship in Offshore Energy Exploration and Production Operations (Nov. 30, 2020). 

United States Environmental Protection Agency Press Releases: 

EPA Announces a $500,000 Community-Scale Air Toxics Monitoring Grant to Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (Dec. 3, 2020). 


Pennsylvania Legislature:

HB 2978 “An Act amending the act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2), known as the Tax Reform Code of 1971, providing for greenhouse gas emissions tax.” Referred to Finance (Nov. 30, 2020). 


Federal Executive Agencies (Federal Register Nov. 30-Dec. 4, 2020): 

Energy Department

85 FR 76559 Notice of Open Virtual Meeting “President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology” (Nov. 30, 2020). 

85 FR 77200 Notice of Application—Comments Period “Annova LNG Common Infrastructure, LLC; Application To Amend Export Term Through December 31, 2050, for Existing Non-Free Trade Agreement Authorization” (Dec. 1, 2020). 

85 FR 78197 Final Rule “National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures” (Dec. 4, 2020). 

Environmental Protection Agency

85 FR 77212 Notice—Comments Period “Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NSPS for Onshore Natural Gas Processing Plants (Renewal)” (Dec. 1, 2020). 

85 FR 77384 Final Rule “Financial Responsibility Requirements Under CERCLA Section 108(b) for Facilities in the Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Industry; the Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing Industry; and the Chemical Manufacturing Industry” (Dec. 2, 2020). 

85 FR 78412 Final Rule “Fuels Regulatory Streamlining” (Dec. 4, 2020). 

85 FR 78323 Notice “Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of Availability” (Dec. 4, 2020). 

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: 

85 FR 77205 Notice “Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc.; Notice of Schedule for the Preparation of an Environmental Assessment for the Lines DT and DS Replacement Project Amendment” (Dec. 1, 2020). 

85 FR 78317 Notice—Comments Period “Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Application and Establishing Intervention Deadline” (Dec. 4, 2020). 

85 FR 78321 Notice—Comments Period “Southern Natural Gas Company LLC; Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization and Establishing Intervention and Protest Deadline” (Dec. 4, 2020). 

Forest Service

85 FR 77142 Revised notice of intent to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement “Jefferson National Forest; Monroe County, West Virginia; Giles and Montgomery County, Virginia. Mountain Valley Pipeline and Equitrans Expansion Project Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement” (Dec. 1, 2020). 

Interior Department

85 FR 77249 Notice—Comments Period “Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), and the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) and Notice of Availability of Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment of Restoration Project Incorporated Into Proposed Consent Decree” (Dec. 1, 2020). 

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee:

S. 434 “A bill to require the collection of certain data relating to Bureau of Land Management land acquisitions, and for other purposes.” Held at the desk (Dec. 3, 2020). 

S. 4947 “A bill to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require annual lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico region of the outer Continental Shelf, and for other purposes.” Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (Dec. 2, 2020). 

Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw—Top #ShaleLaw HotLinks Nov. 30-Dec. 4, 2020: 
Natural Gas Helps to Shrink Energy Poverty Gap” Rigzone 
Tribes File To Halt Line 3 Pipeline Approval Due To Virus” E&E News 
Dutch Climate Activists Take Shell to Court Over Emissions” AP 
Congress Questions FERC On Natural Gas Pipelines” The Herald Dispatch 
Enbridge Begins Solar Power Project” Pennsylvania Business Report 

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