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  • 17
  • May
  • 2016

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EPA Releases Final Rule on Oil and Gas Sector Methane Emissions

On May 12, 2016, the U.S. EPA released a final rule aimed at reducing methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions from new, reconstructed, and modified oil and gas sources. The final rule places new compliance burdens on compressor stations and well sites, including detecting and repairing equipment leaks, capturing gas from the completion of hydraulically fractured wells, and limiting emissions from certain new and modified equipment used at gas transmission compressor stations and well sites. 

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  • 13
  • May
  • 2016

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Washington Department of Ecology Ordered to Develop a GHG Emissions Reduction Plan

On April 29, 2016, a group of children suing the Washington Department of Ecology (“DOE”) won a big victory when a King County Superior Court judge ordered DOE to develop a greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions reduction plan by the end of the year. The case shows that citizen groups are continuing to try to use the Public Trust Doctrine as a way to force agency action on climate change.

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  • 28
  • April
  • 2016

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Enviros Allege FWS Ignored Climate Change in Bull Trout Recovery Plan

Two Montana environmental groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on April 19, 2016, complaining among other things that the Service’s recovery plan for bull trout, a cold-water species in the Pacific Northwest protected under the Endangered Species Act, ignores the effects of climate change and wrongfully plans for the demise of many bull trout populations, not their recovery.

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  • 10
  • February
  • 2016

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Supreme Court Stays Clean Power Plan, What’s EPA’s Next Move?

In an unprecedented order issued last night, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the Obama Administration’s greenhouse gas emission standards for existing power plants, commonly referred to as the Clean Power Plan (“CPP”).  Earlier this year, the D.C. Circuit denied a similar request to stay the implementation of the CPP while legal challenges to the rule proceed, a sign that the D.C. Circuit merits panel is inclined to uphold the CPP.

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  • 27
  • January
  • 2016

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Supreme Court Denies Cert. in Greenhouse Gas Permitting Case

Last week, the Supreme Court denied review of the D.C. Circuit’s April 2015 decision on remand from the Supreme Court’s decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427 (2014) (“UARG”). The effect of this denial is to leave in place the D.C. Circuit decision allowing the EPA-intended permitting requirements for “anyway sources” to remain in effect pending EPA’s revisions of its rules to codify those requirements. Under that regime, proposed sources and modifications that are “major” for any other pollutant have to undergo Prevention of Significant Deterioration review for greenhouse gases (GHG) if emitted in amounts above 75,000 tons/year.

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  • 26
  • January
  • 2016

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BLM Wants Royalties for Natural Gas Lost to Venting, Flaring, and Leaks on Federal Land

On January 22, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a proposed rule aimed at reducing natural gas lost through natural gas venting, flaring, and equipment leaks from both new and existing production activities on federal lands. Except where gas loss is “unavoidable,” as defined by the proposed rule, operators would be charged royalties on natural gas losses from onshore federal and Indian mineral leases administered by BLM.

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