Jackson Kelly PLLC

Energy and Environment Monitor

EPA FUMBLES FRACKING STUDY

In 2015, EPA released a draft study finding that hydraulic fracturing is not having “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water.” This conclusion – reached in the apparent absence of widespread, systemic impacts – seemed eminently sound, if not obvious.

But an uproar ensued. Two of the Obama Administration’s staunchest allies – the green lobby and trial lawyers – opposed the draft report’s…

AFTER THE ELECTION: WHAT COAL NEEDS MOST

My colleagues and I have the privilege of working with coal operators every day in the places where coal is mined in this country. From coal basins in Appalachia to Illinois to the Powder River Basin, we have had the pleasure of helping those who mine the coal that powers our homes and makes our steel.

In recent years, the challenges have been numerous, to put it mildly. Undoubtedly, many of those…

Groups Seek Order Requiring EPA to Regulate Ammonia Emissions from Animal Feeding (and Other) Operations

Seven environmental groups have sued EPA, seeking an order compelling it to act on a petition to require the development of a national ambient air quality standard (“NAAQS”) for ammonia. The Complaint alleges that EPA has failed to act on a petition the plaintiffs submitted in 2011, which sought to designate ammonia as a “criteria pollutant” under § 108 of Clean Air Act and to establish a…

Groups Seek Order Requiring EPA to Regulate Ammonia Emissions from Animal Feeding (and Other) Operations

Seven environmental groups have sued EPA seeking an order compelling it to act on a petition to require the development of a national ambient air quality standard (“NAAQS”) for ammonia. The Complaint alleges that EPA has failed to act on a petition the plaintiffs submitted in 2011 seeking to designate ammonia as a “criteria pollutant” under § 108 of Clean Air Act and to establish a NAAQS…

EPA Submits Proposed Jobs Study Schedule in Response to Order in Murray Energy Clean Air Act Case in WV

On October 3, in accordance with the October 17 federal court order, EPA submitted a proposed schedule for studying the employment impacts of its administration and enforcement of the Clean Air Act. As previously summarized here, the federal district court previously ruled that EPA failed to conduct mandatory evaluations of the employment effects of its enforcement of the Clean Air…

Federal Judge Rules That EPA has Failed to Conduct Required Studies of Effects of its Clean Air Act Enforcement and Implementation on Employment

On October 17, 2017, a federal court in West Virginia ruled that EPA has failed to conduct mandatory evaluations of the employment effects of its administration and enforcement of the Clean Air Act, especially as they relate to coal mining and usage. In 2014, Murray Energy sued EPA in the Northern District of West Virginia, arguing that § 321 of the Clean Air Act imposes on EPA a…

Little Known Agency Assumes New Enforcement Powers

A little known federal agency in charge of pipeline safety has just issued a new regulation that represents a major change in its enforcement authority over regulated pipelines. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an independent agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, has announced an “Interim Final Rule” (IFR) on its website which will authorize it…

ExxonMobil Sued by Climate Activists for Failure to Account for Climate Risks to Oil Storage Facility in Massachusetts

The Conservation Law Foundation has sued Exxon in Massachusetts for failing to acknowledge and respond to climate-based risks posed to the environment by its petroleum terminal in Everett, Massachusetts. The Complaint claims the terminal lies below the level of a storm surge that occurred in 1978 and if FEMA were to update flood hazard maps through the area, then the terminal would likely fall…

Court Slaps Down EPA Over Improper Disclosure of Private Information

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit handed the EPA an unexpected reversal last week in a case involving its unlawful disclosure of private information to environmental groups. The Eighth Circuit reversed a district court which had concluded that the farm organizations which sued EPA did not have standing to bring the action. More important, the circuit court addressed the merits of…

OSM SIGNALS END TO SELF-BONDING

The federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) surprised no one on September 7 when it announced that it would commence rulemaking to revise its regulations governing the use of self-bonds at coal mining operations (81 Federal Register 61612). The announcement formally approves a petition filed in March by the predominantly Western environmental organization, WildEarth Guardians, to prohibit the use…

West Virginia County Court Rules That Mine Operator Is Not Required To Prevent Subsidence Damage To Commercial Gas Lines Where Operator Has The Right To Subside But Has Duty To Compensate For Damages

By Order of August 5, 2016, the Circuit Court of Marshall County, WV ruled that West Virginia’s surface mining rules do not require underground mine operators to take steps—or pay pipeline operators to take steps—in advance of mining to prevent damage to overlying pipelines where the miner has the common law right to subside the surface. Link to Order  The Court also held, however, that…

 

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