Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 6, No. 26

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • EPA Inspector General to review methane emission estimates from the oil and gas sector.
  • Texas: Researchers concluded road damage among most significant effects of hydraulic fracturing.
  • Pennsylvania: Supreme Court limited state spending of oil and gas proceeds.
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed decision requiring evaluation of environmental effects of proposed oil and gas wells.

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Step One – EPA’s Proposal to Repeal the Obama Administration’s Definition of “Waters of the United States”

Yesterday, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began the formal process of repealing and replacing the Obama administration’s Clean Water Rule (“Rule”).  Promulgated in 2015, the controversial Rule had broadly defined the term “waters of the United States,” which establishes the limits of jurisdiction under the federal Clean Water Act.  In February of this year, President Trump signed an Executive Order that directed EPA and the Corps to review the 2015 Rule and issue a proposed rule rescinding or revising the Rule as appropriate and consistent with law. 

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Energy Enforcement Update

This enforcement update covers:

  • FERC and Department of Energy nominees clear Senate committee;
  • District court dismisses oil price manipulation complaints against multiple energy companies;
  • Barclays and FERC file Second Amended Joint Status Report and Court schedules settlement conference;
  • Fifth Circuit affirms dismissal of TOTAL’s declaratory judgment action against FERC;
  • Supreme Court limits SEC disgorgement to 5-year statute of limitations;
  • Kraft Foods moves to compel documents from CFTC; and
  • Fifth Circuit vacates judgment involving overly broad privilege standard and related protective order.

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President Trump Announces Withdrawal From Paris Agreement

President Donald Trump followed through on one of his signature campaign promises and announced Thursday that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Paris Agreement is an international accord intended to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. Nearly 200 countries signed the Agreement, which took effect in November 2016. The Agreement is not a binding treaty. Instead, the signatories agreed to set voluntary, individualized carbon emission targets. The U.S. target was to reduce GHG emissions by 26–28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

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