Judge Dismisses Climate Change Suit Filed against Five Large Energy Companies

On June 25, 2018, Judge William Alsup dismissed the suits filed by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco, even though the judge openly stated that he thought burning fossil fuels caused global warming.  Among the statements in his opinion supporting the dismissal: “With respect to balancing the social utility against the gravity of the […]

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Pruitt’s EPA Policies Will Continue without Him

On July 5, 2018, President Trump accepted the resignation of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.  Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler is now Acting EPA Administrator. Support from President Trump Amid Controversy In his resignation letter, Pruitt cited “unrelenting attacks” on him and his family.  While he did not provide details of these attacks, President Trump was certainly […]

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Methane News: Emissions Estimates and a New Industry Initiative

An article released June 21, 2018 in the journal Science concludes that US energy industry methane emissions are approximately 60% higher than EPA’s inventory estimate. Also, several energy companies recently formed the Collaboratory for Advancing Methane Science (CAMS) to “pursue scientific studies addressing methane emissions from all sectors along the entire natural gas value chain, […]

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Record Surface Owner Could Not Disprove Ownership and Must Remove Underground Tanks

The deed records indicated Matthew Pryor was the owner of a former Gulf gas station, which had three underground storage tanks.  Pryor claimed the deed showing him as owner was fraudulent.  He also asserted Chevron, successor to Gulf, owned the tanks.  In Pryor v. State, the Third Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas upheld a […]

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TV Show Leads to Clean Air Act Penalty

On June 5, 2018 EPA announced settlement of an enforcement action against Magnolia Homes (“Magnolia”). In the settlement, Magnolia agreed to pay a civil penalty of $40,000, conduct a community lead-abatement project with an estimated cost of $160,000, and post an internet video about renovating homes containing lead-based paint.  Magnolia must post the internet video […]

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EPA Proposes Program for Audits by New Owners of Oil and Gas Facilities

EPA has proposed a “new owner” audit program for air emissions from oil and natural gas exploration and production facilities and has requested comments on a proposed Audit Agreement template.  I expect EPA will make the program final after receiving comments, with the final template similar to the current draft. Limited to Oil and Gas […]

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Failure to Consider Key Evidence Leads to Reversal of Superfund Site Listing

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“DC Circuit”) has reversed EPA’s listing of the West Vermont Drinking Water Contamination Site (the “Site”). In deciding Genuine Parts Company v. EPA, the DC Circuit said EPA: Ignored evidence that did not support its listing; Relied on certain portions of studies that […]

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