Author Archives: Stephen C. Smith

While Trump Cools Federal Efforts to Move Forward with Climate Change Some States Heat Up

On May 18, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted the request by the Trump administration to delay lawsuits involving the proposed regulations of methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. American Petroleum Institute (API) et al v. EPA et al, (No. 13-1108).  The Trump administration is reviewing numerous… Read More »

Wind Energy Sailing Across the Great Plains

On March 6, 2017, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported that Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota all sourced more than 20% of their electricity generation from wind power during 2016 based on its review of new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In the same article, AWEA reported that… Read More »

Commonwealth Court Opens Brief Window for Impact Fee Refund

On March 29, 2017, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued a decision in Snyder Brothers, Inc. v Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, No. 1043 C.D. 2015, reversing and rejecting the PUC’s interpretation of the obligation to pay impact fees under Act 13 for a low producing or “stripper” well, which is defined as an “unconventional gas… Read More »

PADEP Sues Townships Over Fracing Bans

On the same day it issued permits authorizing two energy companies to dispose of oil and gas wastewater in underground injection wells, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) filed a petition for review in Commonwealth Court challenging two townships for attempting to restrict unconventional gas operations.  In asking the court to enjoin the townships… Read More »

Resurgence in Coal: Can Politics “Trump” Economics?

President Trump’s repeated proclamation of his desire to restore coal jobs certainly appealed to unemployed miners in the coal fields.  True to his word, the new administration has reeled in regulatory initiatives put in place by his predecessor which were viewed as detrimental to the coal industry.  While his efforts may have helped spur the… Read More »

Concentrated Solar Plants – A Ray of Light for Renewable Power?

Proponents of the development of renewable energy sources have struggled to address the challenge of many renewable energy sources. How do you make electricity when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine?   Many have hoped that innovations in batteries or other large scale power storage systems could provide the answer and… Read More »

NGOs Seek to Block Pipeline Development

Last summer I published an article in this blog discussing the fact that many stakeholders were turning their focus to pipelines.   http://www.environmentalessentials.com/stakeholders-focus-on-pipelines/ With steady supplies of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays as well as gas from gulf states and low prices expected to continue, it is not surprising that NGOs have… Read More »

LNG Exports Begin as NGOs Press Climate Change Challenges

The first commercial shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) left Cheniere Energy’s newly constructed export terminal in Sabine Pass, LA at a time when natural gas prices are expected to remain low and NGO’s seek to block future exports through climate change challenges. According to a Law360 article, Cheniere closed on a $5.9 billion financing… Read More »

Emergency Response Plans – Lessons from PA DEP Enforcement

On January 6, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a news release advising of the settlement of an enforcement action against the largest energy infrastructure company in North America which will result in the payment of a civil penalty totaling $745,000 for violations at two of the company’s facilities near Philadelphia. Notably,… Read More »

Pennsylvania DEP Moves Forward with Oil and Gas Rulemaking Despite Legal and Political Challenges

On January 6, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) forwarded to the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) DEP’s proposed final rulemaking package that would revise the oil and gas regulatory program applicable to conventional oil and gas operations (Chapter 78) and create a separate chapter applicable to unconventional drilling (Chapter 78a) in Pennsylvania. As… Read More »