Monthly Archives: February 2014

21 States Challenge EPA’s Authority to Set TMDLs for Chesapeake Bay Watershed Under CWA

Attorneys general in twenty-one states, including Texas, Kentucky and West Virginia, filed an amicus brief in the Third Circuit in support of the American Farm Bureau Federations’ challenge to the EPA’s cleanup plan affecting the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  The states and other groups opposing the plan allege that this plan “marks the beginning of the… Read More »

Endangered Species Act Congressional Working Group Releases Findings

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) Congressional Working Group released a final report which contained its findings and recommendations focusing on the effectiveness and workability of the ESA.  The Working Group consists of thirteen members of the House of Representatives and was formed in May 2013 to examine numerous questions related to the implementation and effectiveness… Read More »

Pennsylvania’s Energy Plan and the Environment

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett surprised many with the January 2014 release of his new energy plan for the Commonwealth entitiled “ENERGY = JOBS”.  This eighty-one page document covers a range of energy related issues including a look at the state’s energy portfolio, a plan for making use of the state’s resources, a plan for transforming… Read More »

Recent Study on Methane Gas Emissions Generates Debate

A recently completed study prepared by researchers from Harvard University and seven other institutions reports that methane gas emissions are approximately 1.5 times greater than estimated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The report was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.  The potential for higher methane emissions could derail some… Read More »

Texas Takes Over Greenhouse Gas Permitting from EPA

The EPA delegated authority over greenhouse gas permitting to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) after months of negotiations between the two entities.  Texas is the leading greenhouse gas producer in the United States and was the only state in 2010 that refused to meet new federal greenhouse gas emission rules. 

EPA Establishes New Guidelines for Use of Diesel Fuels for Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing

On February 5, 2014, The United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a Memorandum from the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water implementing a “technical guidance” governing the use of diesel fuels by oil and gas industry in fracturing operations.   Generally, all oil and gas development is exempt from UIC permitting under the Safe Water … Read More »

Use of Diesel Fuels in Hyrdraulic Fracturing Subject to UIC Permitting, Says EPA

US EPA sent a memorandum to its Regional Administrators as well as state agency directors transmitting new technical guidance clarifying the requirements under the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program for hydraulic fracturing activities involving diesel fuels. The memorandum explains how under existing Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requirements and EPA’s UIC regulations, any owner or… Read More »

Do You Need a Thermal Variance Under Section 316(a) of the Clean Water Act, Or a Thermal Mixing Zone?

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act and West Virginia’s state counterpart (West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act) regulate discharges of pollutants to water bodies from point sources.  Regulations are intended to include conditions and effluent limitations to require that any discharge of a pollutant does not cause a violation of “water quality standards.”  Most people… Read More »

Europe Issues “Minimum Principles” on Hydraulic Fracturing

While the European Union (EU) has been able to reach agreement on carbon trading, currency, and other tricky political and economic issues, the use of hydraulic fracturing has proven to be somewhat divisive with the United Kingdom (UK) and Spain supporting it and France banning it.  Consequently, rather than proceeding with legislation that might be… Read More »