PHMSA Proposes Plans to Revise Volatility Standard for the Transport of Crude Oil

Today, PHMSA released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), announcing that it is considering revising the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to establish vapor pressure limits for the transportation of crude oil and potentially all Class 3 flammable liquid hazardous materials. The ANPRM is in response to a petition for rulemaking from the New York Attorney General that requested PHMSA establish a nationwide vapor pressure standard for the transportation of crude oil by rail. Going beyond the scope of the NY AG’s petition, the ANPRM asks stakeholders whether any future...

Federal Court Sets Timeline for EPA to Reconsider Regulation of Oil and Gas Waste Under RCRA

In yet another example of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA’s) “sue and settle” approach to regulation, in late December 2016, EPA entered into a Consent Decree with an environmental group and agreed to reconsider the Agency’s current treatment of oil and gas wastes under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). See Consent Decree, Civil Action No. 16-842. With the D.C. District Court’s approval of this Consent Decree, EPA is now bound to a court-imposed timeline for determining (1) how oil and gas wastes should be regulated under RCRA Subtitle D; and (2) whether...

Renewable Energy Tax Incentives – Potential Clues To An Uncertain Future

BACKGROUND After President Obama was sworn into office, the renewable energy industry saw a boom in temporary tax incentives with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009. Almost 8 years later, the fate of renewable energy tax incentives under the Trump administration is uncertain. Trump’s transition team, his advisors, and President-Elect Trump have given mixed signals on their views on tax incentives for renewable energy. While some advisors have indicated that the credits will remain in place, others have called for a full repeal. Trump himself has reportedly...

Strategies to Survive and Thrive in a Low Oil Price Environment

Adapting business strategies to navigate a prolonged period of lower oil and gas prices is a challenge that many companies throughout the Middle East and wider world are currently facing up to. While surviving such a volatile commodity cycle is the main priority for some, other corporates are using sub $50 a barrel oil as an opportunity to innovate and recalibrate their businesses. This was certainly the key takeaway from the recently held Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC), where the overall mood amongst major companies at the industry symposium was upbeat...

EPA Seeks to Require Natural Gas Processing Facilities to Annually Report Emissions to National Database; A Classic Example of Sue and Settle

If the current EPA has its way, natural gas processing facilities will soon be required to report release and waste management data in accordance with Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), otherwise known as the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). On January 6, 2017, EPA published in the federal register a proposal to add natural gas processors to the list of industries that are subject to TRI annual reporting. EPA’s decision arose out of an Administrative Procedure Act (APA) petition filed by an environmental group in 2012 and is a classic example of the...

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