Governor Wolf Proposes 6.5% Severance Tax

On February 7, 2017, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf released his proposed 2017-18 budget for the Commonwealth, which includes a proposed 6.5% severance tax on natural gas. Under Governor Wolf’s plan, operators would be allowed to credit the amount paid in unconventional gas well impact fees against… Read more

FERC Approves Pipeline Projects and Delegates Authority Prior to Loss of Quorum

On February 2 and 3, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Energy Transfer Partners, LP’s $4.2 billion “Rover” pipeline project, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC’s $3 billion “Atlantic Sunrise” pipeline expansion, and National Fuel Gas Company’s $455 million “Northern… Read more

PADEP Proposes New and Revised GPS for Methane

On February 4, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection opened a 45-day public comment period for two proposed general permits and revisions to an air quality permit exemption. The proposals are designed to reduce methane and other pollutants at well sites and compressor… Read more

Trump Issues Executive Order on Cost-Neutral Regulations

On January 30, 2017, President Donald Trump issued a “Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.” The Executive Order requires that, unless prohibited by law, whenever an agency proposes or promulgates a new regulation through the Federal Register, the… Read more

FERC Commissioner’s Resignation Could Delay Pipeline Projects

On January 27, 2017, Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Norman C. Bay announced his resignation, effective February 3, 2017. Bay’s resignation will create a third vacancy on the five-commissioner panel, leaving FERC one commissioner short of a quorum. Routine FERC business delegated to the… Read more

Railroad Commission Streamlines Oil and Gas Well Reporting

In January 2017, the Texas Railroad Commission announced that oil and natural gas producers may now file well log data electronically.  The Commission estimates that the new electronic filing system will save operators $362,000 annually and make well log data more easily accessible to the public. … Read more

Commonwealth Court Limits Clean Streams Law Penalties

In December 2016, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court agreed to hear additional oral argument in Snyder Brothers, Inc. v. Pa. Public Utility Comm’n. The case concerns the proper interpretation of Pennsylvania’s Act 13 of 2012, which exempts from the Commonwealth’s impact fee those unconventional… Read more

Trump Administration Halts New Regulations

On January 20, 2017, Reince Priebus, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, issued a memorandum to the heads of all executive departments and agencies concerning ongoing regulatory projects.  Specifically, Priebus instructed agency heads to: (1) immediately withdraw all regulations pending… Read more

Energy Companies Pursue Incidental Take Permit for Five Bat Species

In December 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service held five public meetings to discuss a proposal by nine oil and natural gas companies for an incidental take permit related to five bat species in Appalachia. If approved, the incidental take permit would exempt future oil and natural gas… Read more

SCOTUS to Review Clean Water Act Case

On January 13, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari in Nat’l Ass’n of Manufacturers v. Dep’t. of Def., et al., a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The case arises from a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of… Read more

EPA Publishes Risk Management Rule

On January 13, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published “Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs under the Clean Air Act,” a final rule amending EPA’s Risk Management Program regulations at 40 CFR part 68, in the Federal Register.  Specifically, the… Read more

DRBC Releases Proposed Draft Regulations to States

On January 4, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reported that the Commonwealth attended a Delaware River Basin Commission meeting in November 2016 at which draft regulations covering oil and natural gas development activities in the Delaware River Basin were discussed.… Read more

Bill Proposed to Take Oil and Gas Penalty Collections from PADEP

On December 27, 2016, Pennsylvania State Senator Scott E. Hutchinson issued a Senate Co-Sponsorship Memorandum regarding the reallocation of oil and natural gas penalties received by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Specifically, the bill would redirect oil and natural gas… Read more

FERC Completes EIS for Transco’s Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Expansion

On December 30, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced the results of an Environmental Impact Study for Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC’s proposed 199.4-mile “Atlantic Sunrise” pipeline expansion. If approved, the pipeline is expected to extend from the Marcellus shale… Read more

EPA Agrees to Review RCRA Regulations

On December 28, 2016, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates signed a consent decree that settles a lawsuit between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and several environmental advocacy organizations concerning the agency’s treatment of oil and natural gas wastes under the Resource Conservation… Read more

House Passes Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017

On January 3, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017 (H.R.21) by a vote of 238-184. If enacted into law, the bill would amend the Congressional Review Act to allow Congress to consider and pass a joint resolution disapproving multiple regulations that… Read more

EPA Launches CWA Jurisdictional Determination Website

On December 19, 2016, Joel Beauvais, the Deputy Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water announced the release of a new website that tracks all Clean Water Act jurisdictional determinations made since August 28, 2015, the effective date of the “Waters… Read more

White House Announces Moratorium on Arctic Offshore Leasing

On Tuesday, December 20, 2016, the White House announced that President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reached an agreement to designate certain U.S. and Canadian waters in the Arctic and northern Atlantic Oceans as “indefinitely off limits” to offshore oil and natural gas… Read more