Jackson Kelly PLLC

Energy and Environment Monitor

Climate Change

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Critical Habitat for Two Central Appalachian Crayfish

 

BACKGROUND

 

In 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS” or “Service”) listed the Guyandotte River crayfish as endangered and the Big Sandy crayfish as threatened.  An explanation of those decisions and a map of their range in West Virginia, Kentucky and southwest Virginia may be viewed here.  In 2018, the Center for Biological Diversity sued the USFWS to force the designation of critical…

Two Sets of Climate Books? Is New York’s Claim Against Exxon Mobil Heating Up or Just a Lot of Hot Air?

       The New York Attorney General (“NYAG”) has sued Exxon Mobil (“Exxon”) for fraud and misrepresentation to its investors under a New York securities law known as the Martin Act. The NYAG contends that Exxon represented to the public that it was accounting for “projected carbon costs in evaluating its ongoing investments” using one value ($80.00 per ton of CO2 emissions) but that internally (and…

NRDC Claims WVDEP's Underground Injection Program for the Oil and Gas Industry is Deficient

The Natural Resource Defenses Council (“NRDC”), assisted by the West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization, has issued a report claiming that West Virginia’s groundwater is not adequately protected from underground injection. https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/west-virginia-groundwater-underground-injection-report.pdf. The Underground Injection Control (“UIC”) program originated from…

The Promise and Perils of Clean Water Act Litigation

            On November 14th, a federal district court dismissed a lawsuit filed by environmental groups against the owners of the Vermillion power plant, a retired coal-fired facility on the banks of the Middle Fork in Vermillion County, Illinois.  Metals from coal ash were leaching from three unlined ponds into groundwater that flows to the Middle Fork, which happens to be both a federally and state…

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Kids' Climate Trial to Proceed

We have written before about this case where a group of children have sued the United States Government for its failure to protect them from the effects of climate change.  October 30, 2018.  In prior rulings, a federal district court judge in Oregon has rebuffed efforts by the United States to dismiss the case on the grounds that it presents non-justiciable “political” questions rather than…

EPA Puts Affordable Clean Energy Rules Out for Public Comment

On August 21, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed the Affordable Clean Energy rule (“ACE”) as a replacement for the Obama Administration’s controversial 2015 Clean Power Plan (“CPP”), which EPA proposed to repeal because it exceeded the agency’s authority. On August 31, 2018, EPA officially published the proposed rule for public comment. See Fed. 83 Reg. 44746 (Aug. 31,…

WVDEP Moves to Dismiss Gas Producer Lawsuit Claiming "Flat Rate Statute" is Unconstitutional

We have previously written about a gas producer’s suit against WVDEP claiming that West Virginia’s “Flat Rate Statute” unconstitutionally impairs flat rate gas leases. In a flat rate lease, the producer pays a regular, often annual fee to the mineral owner rather than paying a royalty based on the amount of oil and gas that is produced. The history of flat rate leases in West Virginia is…

Update on Clean Power Plan Litigation

On September 7, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) filed a Status Report in the ongoing Clean Power Plan litigation (State of West Virginia v. EPA), which has been pending before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for two years. Link.

The Obama Administration first released a draft version of the “Clean Power Plan” rules for existing coal-fired electric generating plants in June of…

EPA Issues Guidance for States to Develop Permitting Programs for Coal Ash Disposal

On August 15th, 2017 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released and began accepting public comments on guidance for states that want to develop a permitting program for the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR), or coal ash. While the guidance does offer some flexibility to states in developing their permitting programs, state programs must be at least as protective as the Federal…

California Plaintiffs Seek to Address Climate Change Via State Tort Suits

On July 17, 2017, the governments of California’s Marin and San Meteo counties, as well as the city of Imperial Beach, filed three separate complaints in California Superior Court in their respective counties against 37 oil, gas, and coal companies. We have previously written about similar suits filed by citizen groups, states, and cities in federal court here.

Although most of these suits…

Fourth Circuit Refuses to Order EPA to Conduct Coal Jobs Analysis: When “Shall” Means “Eh, Maybe”

Several years ago, Murray Energy sued EPA in the Northern District of West Virginia under § 304(a)(2) of the Clean Air Act, which authorizes actions against EPA when it fails to perform an act or duty “which is not discretionary.” Murray sought to enjoin further rulemaking by EPA and the implementation of the Clean Power Plan until EPA explored the impacts of its Clean Air Act programs…

EPA Withdraws 2016 Information Request on Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Industry

On November 10, 2016, EPA issued Information Collection Request requiring oil and natural gas companies to provide extensive information that EPA desired to develop regulations for reducing methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources.

The information request was sent to more than 15,000 owners and operators in the oil and gas industry. The request was comprised of two parts:  An…

 

© 2021 Jackson Kelly PLLC. All Rights Reserved.