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Showing 28 posts in Oil and Gas.

EPA Delays Effective Date of RMP Rule Amendments, Environmental Groups File Challenge

On June 14, 2017, EPA published a final rule in the Federal Register delaying the effective date of its Risk Management Program (RMP) rule amendment package for twenty months, until February 19, 2019.[1] EPA’s decision was immediately challenged by a coalition of environmental groups. Read More ›

Executive Order Charts New Path For Offshore Energy Development

On April 28, 2017, the Trump administration issued an Executive Order entitled “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy.”  This EO calls for expanded oil and gas leasing in areas of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) that were recently placed off-limits to energy development, and instructs several federal agencies to reevaluate and possibly reverse recent regulations imposed on the offshore oil and gas industry.  If fully implemented, the EO would clear the way for expanded and expedited development of OCS energy resources.   Read More ›

Interior Secretary Immediately Implements President’s Executive Order on Energy and Climate

New Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke wasted no time implementing the mandates of the Trump Administration’s most recent Executive Order (EO), “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” which was issued on March 28.  For a summary of that EO, click here.  On March 29, the Secretary issued two Secretarial Orders (SO) implementing the March 28 Order, and took additional administrative action consistent with its mandates.  Separately, the Secretary has reinstated a public-private advisory committee to address royalty issues. Read More ›

Fourth Circuit: CWA Permit Shield Requires Compliance with Incorporated Quality Standards

A recent Fourth Circuit decision will have wastewater dischargers taking a closer look at their NPDES permits and state water quality standards. The court of appeals held, in Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Fola Coal Co., No. 16-1024, that permit language incorporating state water quality standards required compliance with all such standards, including narrative standards not reflected in the permit’s effluent limits.  As a consequence, a source can only be assured that it is shielded from liability under the CWA if its discharges comply with both (a) effluent limits in the NPDES permit and (b) any water quality standards—even narrative standards—that the permit incorporates.  The decision raises questions about potential exposure and how to approach permit writers in the future. Read More ›

EPA Releases Final RMP Amendments, Awaits Response of New Administration

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a final rule updating the Accidental Release Prevention rules at 40 C.F.R. Part 68, which implement the Clean Air Act Section112(r)(7) risk management planning program. A pre-publication copy of the rule can be accessed here. Read More ›

Massachusetts Proposes New Greenhouse Gas Rules for Electric Generation, Natural Gas, and Transportation Sectors

On December 16, 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“MassDEP”) released draft rules that would impose new greenhouse gas (“GHG”) requirements on the electric energy sector, gas distribution systems, and certain aspects of the transportation sector.  Written comments on the proposed regulations are due on or before February 24, 2017, and public hearings are currently scheduled for February 6 and February 8, 2017. Read More ›

Fifth Circuit Affirms Exclusion of Expert Testimony Tying Gasoline to AML

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a trial court’s decision to exclude expert testimony that exposure to gasoline caused acute myeloid leukemia (“AML”) in a former gas station attendant and mechanic, highlighting the importance of the distinction between a product and its component parts in exposure cases.  See Burst v. Shell Oil Co., 2016 WL 2989261 (5th Cir. May 23, 2016).  (Our prior coverage of the trial court ruling is available here.) Read More ›

Vermont’s Statewide MTBE Claims Time-Barred

In an opinion that reinforces the importance of the statute of limitations to defendants, the Vermont Supreme Court upheld a trial court’s decision that the State’s claims of a “generalized injury” from methyl tertiary butyl ether (“MTBE”) groundwater contamination were time-barred under Vermont law. See State of Vermont v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 2016 VT 61 (May 27, 2016).  The State brought suit in 2014, alleging that gasoline refiners and marketers were liable for knowingly distributing gasoline containing the oxygenate, which then leaked into groundwater across the state. Read More ›

Nuisance Claims for Injunctive Relief Not Barred by New York’s Statute of Limitations

In a case that highlights the importance of careful pleading in toxic tort cases, a New York federal court revived a landowner’s nuisance claim related to gasoline contamination, to the extent the Plaintiff sought injunctive relief.  See Plumbing Supply, LLC v. ExxonMobil Oil Corp., 14-cv-3674 (S.D.N.Y. May 27, 2016). Read More ›

Gasoline with Lead is not Subject to the Petroleum Exemption in Massachusetts Clean-Up Statute Says Top Mass. Court

In a decision that has broad implications, gasoline with additives such as lead is not included in the exemption under the Massachusetts remediation statute, Chapter 21E, for oil releases located in certain drinking water areas according to the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision upholding an interpretation by the MassDEP.  Read More ›