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The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ("TCEQ") is preparing to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") to develop a process to transition the prevention of significant deterioration ("PSD") greenhouse gas ("GHG") permitting program for sources in Texas from EPA Region 6 to TCEQ. The transition will be accomplished pursuant to Texas House Bill 788 which Governor Perry signed into law on June 14, 2013.
On July 16, 2013, the Texas Attorney General, along with eleven other states, filed a complaint against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") to compel compliance with the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA").
On July 8, 2013, the Texas State Auditor’s Office issued an audit report regarding the Texas Railroad Commission’s ("RRC’s") program for plugging abandoned oil and gas wells. Through its Oil and Gas Regulation and Cleanup Program, the RRC uses industry fees to plug abandoned wells and remediate abandoned sites that pose high pollution risks.
On July 8, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made critical habitat designations for six west Texas aquatic invertebrate species under the Endangered Species Act.
On July 9, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a six month extension of the final determination regarding the listing of the lesser prairie-chicken ( Tympanuchus pallidicinctus ) as a threatened species.
On July 26, 2013, the TCEQ commissioners approved the adoption of a new permit by rule ("PBR") to authorize air contaminant emissions from planned maintenance, startup and shutdown ("MSS") activities at oil and gas handling and production facilities.
TCEQ is proposing to remove the area in Harris County near the Lynchburg Ferry from the Air Pollutant Watch List ("APWL"). Additionally, TCEQ’s Toxicology Division is accepting toxicity information for use in developing toxicity factors for four constituents, and recently issued health effect reviews for 2012 ambient air network monitoring data for eight areas in the state.
TCEQ will host its 2013 Public Drinking Water Conference entitled "Information and Tools for Public Water Systems and Utilities" on August 6-7, 2013 in Austin. Information and registration for this free event is available on TCEQ's website .
TCEQ will conduct its annual Advanced Air Permitting Seminar and Oil and Gas Facilities Workshop on September 25 and 26, 2013, respectively, at the Austin Convention Center. The Oil and Gas Facilities Workshop will focus on air permitting issues associated with such facilities. Additional information about these events is available on TCEQ's website .
TCEQ announcements for enforcement orders adopted in July can be found on TCEQ's website .
For information on recent TCEQ rule developments, please see TCEQ's website .
This month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a criminal enforcement alert (EPA CAFO alert) warning that Clean Water Act (CWA) violations by combined animal feeding operations (known as CAFOs) will be prioritized for aggressive enforcement and criminal prosecution, including fines and incarceration.
Executive Recycling, Inc., a U.S. electronic waste recycling business, and two company executives were sentenced this month by U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez for defrauding customers and illegally shipping electronic waste ("e-waste") overseas. The corporation was fined $4.5 million and sentenced to 3 years on probation.
In an opinion released Tuesday, July 23, Judge Robert Wilkins of the D.C. Federal District Court rejected the challenges that several industry groups brought against the conflict minerals provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule implementing those provisions.
On June 25, 2013, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan which sets forth a sweeping strategy to curb domestic carbon emissions, bolster the resiliency of communities and infrastructure, and lead international efforts to combat global climate change.
The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals’ January 4, 2013 decision in Natural Resources Defense Council vs. EPA, Case No. 08-1250, created significant uncertainty regarding regulatory requirements governing the implementation of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM-2.5). Despite this uncertainty, EPA has concluded that it can proceed to redesignate a number of PM-2.5 nonattainment areas that have otherwise attained the standards.
On June 20, 2013, the King County, Washington Board of Health passed the Secure Medicine Return Rule and Regulation ("SMRRR") establishing a product stewardship program to collect and safely dispose of unwanted household medicines. The law requires drug manufacturers to fund and implement a drug collection and disposal program.
On Tuesday, July 23, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the State of Texas lodged in federal district court in San Antonio a proposed consent decree with the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) resolving claims regarding sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). SAWS is a public utility owned by the City of San Antonio, providing sewage treatment and wastewater services to the city.
Citing the firm’s leadership and accomplishments in hiring, promoting, and retaining diverse and women attorneys, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCAA) awarded Beveridge & Diamond a 2013 Thomas L. Sager Award on July 15, 2013.
A panel of the New York State Appellate Division, Third Department has unanimously affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of a petition seeking an annulment of a client’s 25-year operating agreement with the Town of Colonie, New York.
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals on July 3 unanimously affirmed a defense judgment for Beveridge & Diamond client DC Water, agreeing with the trial court that the Plaintiffs failed to prove that that drinking water supplied to apartment buildings owned by the plaintiffs caused pinhole leaks in the plumbing in the buildings. The Court of Appeals’ ruling followed a three week bench trial in District of Columbia Superior Court in 2011, which centered on extensive expert testimony on water chemistry, water distribution and corrosion science.
The purpose of this update is to provide current information on Texas environmental regulatory developments. It is not intended as, nor is it a substitute for, legal advice. You should consult with legal counsel for advice specific to your circumstances. This communication may be considered advertising under applicable laws regarding electronic communications.
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