Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
By Amena H. Saiyid
The oil and gas industry and the Environmental Protection Agency are in settlement talks to resolve a lawsuit over a requirement that oil and gas companies obtain drinking water permits if they use diesel oil in hydraulic fracturing (Independent Petroleum Ass'n of America v. EPA, D.C. Cir., No. 10-1233,oral arguments postponed 11/10/11).
The parties were granted a postponement of oral arguments scheduled for Nov. 14 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
In a motion filed Nov. 10, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the U.S. Oil and Gas Association, and EPA said, “The parties are negotiating in good faith.”
EPA and the industry groups said that “the parties agree that postponing would enable them to focus on finalizing a settlement, securing the approval of the necessary government officials, and, ultimately voluntarily dismissing the current action without further involvement from the court.”
D.C. Circuit Judges Merrick Garland, Janice Brown, and Thomas Griffith gave the industry groups and EPA until Jan. 9, 2012, to file a motion to resolve the dispute or file a status report on negotiations.
At issue is an August 2010 lawsuit filed by IPAA and the U.S. Oil and Gas Association over an EPA statement posted on the agency website, which said drillers using diesel in fracturing fluids “must receive prior authorization” from the underground injection program because a well using such fluids “will be considered Class II wells by the UIC program” (136 DEN B-4, 7/15/11).
In the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Pub. L. No. 109-58), Congress exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act except when the fracturing fluids contain diesel oil. Hydraulic fracturing is used to extract natural gas, petroleum, coal seam gas, and other substances.
When diesel oil is used in the process, EPA requires a permit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, but the industry groups say EPA overstepped its authority by specifying the group of wells that can be used for the fracking process using diesel.
The oil and gas groups contended that such a statement constituted a rulemaking without notice and comment, as required under the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.
IPAA spokesman Jeff Eshelman confirmed Nov. 14 that settlement talks were under way. “Both parties have agreed to postpone oral arguments during these discussions,” he said.
EPA and the Justice Department declined to comment, saying they do not comment on pending litigation.
While EPA and the oil and gas industry continue negotiations, three Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to hold a hearing on the draft findings of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Subcommittee on Shale Gas Production.
The draft report, which was released Nov. 10, called on EPA to control air and water pollution from shale gas production through aggressive regulation (219 DEN A-1, 11/14/11)
In their Nov. 14 letter, Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Energy Committee; Edward Markey (D-Mass.), ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee; and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, reminded Upton that the committee has held no hearings on shale gas development.
The letter from Democratic lawmakers to Rep. Upton is available at http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Letter_Upton_11.14.11.pdf .
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)