Prompted by several emergency events, as previously reported, on June 1, 2022, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) adopted revisions to the compliance history rules to authorize the executive director to reclassify a site’s compliance history if an “exigent circumstance” exists. An exigent circumstance is defined as: i) a significant disruption to one or more local communities; ii) a significant commitment of emergency response resources by a federal or state authority to address an actual unauthorized release of pollutants, contamination, or other materials regulated by the agency; and iii) a significant event the commission determined must be urgently accounted for in the site’s compliance history.
Under a process known as Sunset Review, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will be abolished in 2023 unless a bill is passed in the 88th Texas Legislative Session reauthorizing the agency. The Sunset Review process, performed by the Sunset Commission, takes approximately two years. The TCEQ review process began last year with the preparation of the Self Evaluation Report (SER), completed by TCEQ in September 2021. The general public is encouraged to participate in the process. Public input is confidential and not passed on to the agency at this stage. Public comments should be provided by February 1, 2022 to be fully considered.
Continue Reading TCEQ Will Undergo Sunset Review During 88th Texas Legislative Session
The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) has made known its commitment to expedited filings and approvals for the regulated community as well as public access to information and improved transparency for all parties. This effort is exemplified by the recently announced Pipeline Inspection, Permitting and Evaluation System (PIPES) program. https://www.rrc.texas.gov/announcements/071221-rrc-launches-pipes/ Organizations can now file reports, inspections, and other documents as well as pay fees online. Organizations can also upload documents for RRC review. In addition, PIPES provides public users access to publicly available RRC documents. As the online availability of reports and other documents expands, it becomes even more important for organizations to focus on timely accurate filings as well as an organization’s online public profile.
Continue Reading RRC Announces PIPES which Allows Online Pipeline Safety Filings and Public Access
On December 18, 2020, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) published notice of its intent to issue a non-rule standard permit for Marine Loading Operations (MLO). [i] The 30 day comment period ends on January 22 and instructions for the submittal of written comments are provided in the notice. A telephonic public meeting will be held on January 21 at 10:00 a.m. Instructions for participation are provided in the notice. In addition, the standard permit section of the TCEQ website includes a background document and a copy of the permit. [ii]
Continue Reading TCEQ Develops Standard Permit for Marine Loading Operations
Last month, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) launched a temporary “Find It and Fix It” program effective through January 31, 2021 to facilitate air quality compliance for companies with oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin. Regulated entities that comply with the requirements of the temporary program may be eligible for enforcement discretion. …
Continue Reading TCEQ’s Permian Basin “Find It and Fix It” Program Underway
Flaring has the attention of RRC, Producers and Stakeholders
Flaring has the attention of the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC), oil and natural gas companies and stakeholders such as royalty owners, investors and environmental groups. Requests for RRC authorization of flaring has been on the increase in the Permian Basin. As a result, a number of interested parties are looking at regulatory changes. Some interested parties voice concern that a valuable resource is being wasted, others state that the definition of natural gas ‘waste’ is too limited, still others are concerned about methane emissions and some all of the above. Though the interested parties may not always be aligned, there is a general sense that regulatory amendments are needed.
Continue Reading RRC Flaring Rules – Still Up in the Air
Texas policymakers continue to focus on produced water beneficial reuse. On January 22, 2020, the Texas Senate Committees on Natural Resources and Economic Development and Water and Rural Affairs held a joint hearing to consider Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s 2019 interim legislative charge related to one of the most pressing matters facing the state—future water supply issues. This interim charge requires that these legislative committees make recommendations to promote the state’s water supply, including the development of new sources. …
Continue Reading Texas Policymakers Continue Focus on Produced Water Beneficial Reuse
In his annual letter to CEOs, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock expressed his belief that climate change and sustainability were important considerations in investment risk assessments. Investment based on these concepts is often captured under Environmental, Social and Governance Criteria, commonly called ESG. In his letter, Mr. Fink emphasized that he believes “we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”
BlackRock’s letter builds on the ever-advancing trend in corporate institutional investing over the past decade regarding the examination of corporate valuation and investment risk within the context of ESG issues, otherwise referred to as sustainable investing.
Continue Reading BlackRock Supports ESG as a New Standard for Investing in its Annual CEO Letters
Environmental, social and governance diligence has been described as a non-financial mechanism, risk assessment or sustainability strategy. ESG diligence for a particular transaction may take a variety of paths and there are many methodologies that can be used to perform ESG diligence. Lawyers can facilitate the ESG diligence process, assist in the assessment of the various sometimes inconsistent commitments and determine the proper scope and documentation to achieve the client’s goals.
Continue Reading Proposed Revisions to Equator Principles Reflect Evolving Standards for Global ESG Diligence
There are many issues revolving around beneficial use of produced water associated with hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells, from drought relief, to the abundance of produced water, to earthquakes. Will the numerous stakeholders align sufficiently to allow the creation of programs to properly regulate the beneficial use of produced water?
Continue Reading Will Confluence of Produced Water Issues Yield More Beneficial Use?