Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 6, No. 30

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • Industry seeks rehearing en banc of decision vacating 90-day stay of methane rule.
  • Senate confirmations will restore FERC quorum.
  • Assistant Attorney General for Environment and Natural Resources Division advances.
  • Landowners challenge FERC power of eminent domain.
  • UK authorizes first commercial shale gas well.

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Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 6, No. 29

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • BLM issues proposed rule that would rescind Obama-era regulation governing hydraulic fracturing on public lands.
  • West Virginia and Pennsylvania separately delay construction of two pipelines.
  • Massachusetts will study proposed Enbridge natural gas compressor station.
  • EIA predicts that U.S. crude oil production will set new record in 2018.

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Energy Enforcement Update

This week’s enforcement update covers:

  • Second Circuit reverses Rabobank LIBOR convictions over forced testimony;
  • Judge issues pretrial scheduling order in FERC case against Barclays;
  • Judge grants motions to dismiss Illinois ZEC lawsuit;
  • Ryan Smith files motion for judgment on the pleadings in Barclays case;
  • President Trump nominates Rostin Behnam to serve as CFTC Commissioner;
  • President Trump announces intent to nominate Kevin McIntyre as FERC Chairman;
  • FERC issues Notice of Alleged Violations against Rover Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners;
  • CFTC files response to Kraft motion to compel; and
  • FERC issues Notice of Alleged Violations against American Transmission Company.

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House Passes Two Bills Giving More Pipeline Permitting Authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

On July 19, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a pair of bills aimed at reforming natural gas and oil pipeline permitting, and granting additional authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”).  Both bills passed on largely party-line votes.  The two bills are H.R. 2883, Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act, and H.R. 2910, Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act.  H.R. 2883, removes the current requirement that gas and oil pipelines, as well as electric transmission projects, obtain a Presidential Permit to cross an international border.  Instead, pipelines would obtain a certificate of crossing from FERC and transmission projects would obtain such a certificate from the Department of Energy.  If enacted into law, this change would mark a significant change for oil pipeline projects.  FERC currently has no authority over any aspect of interstate oil pipeline siting.  Currently, all siting decisions not on federal lands are handled at the state level, with international border crossings overseen by the State Department through the presidential permit process.  FERC does, however, oversee the siting of interstate natural gas pipelines, including Presidential Permits for international border crossings, under current law.

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Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 6, No. 27

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • Court vacated EPA stay of methane rule.
  • Suits challenged stay of BLM waste prevention rule compliance dates.
  • Department of Interior must issue oil and gas permits within 30 days.
  • Courts stayed sage grouse litigation pending Interior action.
  • D.C. Circuit ordered Nashville to move on pipeline application.
  • Environmental groups sued to block Wyoming oil and gas leases.
  • Environmental groups protested Utah lease sale, citing sage grouse.
  • Earthworks taking optical gas imaging cameras on tour.
  • Ohio EPA took actions against Rover Pipeline, LLC over alleged environmental violations.

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Stakeholders Assess the Effects of the Changing Mix of U.S. Energy Resources

In anticipation of the Department of Energy’s review of the nation’s power grid, stakeholder groups have recently published reports on the state of the U.S. power grid.  The reports add to the debate over what mix of energy resources are needed to sustain a stable, secure and reliable supply of electricity in the United States.

An April 14, 2017 memo from Energy Secretary Rick Perry directing the Energy Department to “explore critical issues central to protecting the long-term reliability of the electric grid” has focused the debate.  According to Secretary Perry, the 60-day review would assess whether federal policies have caused “the erosion of critical baseload resources.”  This includes an assessment of whether reduced coal-fired power generation due “in part from regulatory burdens introduced by previous administrations” has hurt the supply of baseload power and will “undercut the performance of the grid well into the future.” 

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