U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Issues Final Framework Rules for New Chemical Evaluation Regulatory Program

On June 22, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took historic action under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as amended last year by the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act of 2016. First, EPA promulgated three final rules that will guide a new TSCA program to identify and evaluate chemicals in the United States by establishing (1) the procedures to “reset” the TSCA chemical inventory; (2) the procedures to prioritize the chemicals that will be evaluated; and (3) the methodology EPA will use for conducting chemical risk evaluations. Second, EPA released guidance for interested parties to submit their own risk evaluations. Last, EPA released their scope of work for the first chemicals that EPA will evaluate. (more…)

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.  (more…)

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Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 6, No. 25

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • EPA proposed to extend and BLM postponed compliance deadlines for rules governing methane emissions from oil and gas operations.
  • District court ordered further environmental review of Dakota Access pipeline.

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Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 6, No. 24

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • BLM expected to review backlog of flaring requests from Bakken shale wells.
  • Virginia Democrats introduced Senate bill that would require FERC to expand public participation process.
  • Department of Energy seeks comment on water policy database.

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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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Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 6, No. 23

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • Court dismissed challenge to drilling in Arkansas National Forest, finding group lacked standing.
  • Pennsylvania board rejected state agency’s novel civil penalty theory.
  • EPA finalized stay of oil and gas methane rule, and environmental groups vow to challenge EPA’s actions.

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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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