ALERT: The Trump Administration’s First Week

President Trump and his staff have taken several steps to implement his environmental agenda.

As reported previously (see Freeze on Regulations), Mr. Trump’s Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, on January 20, 2017, issued a Memorandum requiring, among other things, that all federal agencies postpone the effective date of all regulations published in the Federal Register but not yet effective as of January 20, 2017. EPA, on January 23, 2017, complied, postponing the effective date of thirty rules until March 21, 2017. See 82 Fed. Reg. 8499 (Jan. 26, 2017). The thirty regulations include the:

  • Risk Management Program revisions (previously effective on March 14, 2017),
  • Renewable Fuel Standards for 2017 (previously effective on February 10, 2017), and
  • Addition of a subsurface intrusion component to the hazard ranking system (previously effective on February 8, 2017).

Continue reading “ALERT: The Trump Administration’s First Week”

ALERT: Freeze on Regulations

On January 20, 2017, moments after President Trump was sworn in, his Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, issued a Memorandum to the heads of all executive departments and agencies. It stated that the President had asked him “to communicate to each of you his plan for managing the Federal regulatory process at the outset of his Administration.”

In short, there is an immediate halt to regulations being sent to the Federal Register for publication. The Memorandum commands that no regulation be sent to the Federal Register “until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the President after noon on January 20, 2017, reviews and approves the regulation.”  In other words, a Trump appointee must approve the regulation prior to its submittal to the Federal Register. Continue reading “ALERT: Freeze on Regulations”

The hurdles for Trump’s EPA

The new Trump administration has made repeated statements regarding overly burdensome environmental regulations. For example, in his “Contract with the American Voter,” Trump pledged to lift restrictions on the production of energy reserves — including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal — and allow the Keystone Pipeline to move forward. There have also been numerous statements regarding the repeal — in whole or in part — of existing regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan. Continue reading “The hurdles for Trump’s EPA”

Relief For the Oil and Gas Industry?

Although coal has been hardest hit by regulations from the Obama administration, the oil and gas sector has seen its fair share over the past several years. These regulations are part of the administration’s and various environmental groups’ ongoing efforts against fossil fuels. Indeed, the administration has tightened the regulatory noose on the oil and gas industry. Continue reading “Relief For the Oil and Gas Industry?”

EPA Expands Its Oversight of Oil and Gas Operations

EPA directly regulates many aspects of oil and gas activity. Mainly, its regulatory authority relates to air emissions from a multitude of sources and equipment from drilling operations to refinery operations. In addition to the major new rules it has issued over the last several years, EPA is now pursuing two courses of action that create a level of complexity and uncertainty for oil and gas operators. Continue reading “EPA Expands Its Oversight of Oil and Gas Operations”

Never Let a Disaster Go To Waste

South central Louisiana experienced massive flooding in August, causing destruction on par with Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. Nevertheless, some environmental groups seized the opportunity to advance their own agendas in the wake of the flooding.

According to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, over 145,000 homes and 12,000 businesses employing 136,000 people are located within the flood area. Over 360,000 people live and work within the flood areas. Most did not have flood insurance to deal with the estimated $20 billion in damages. Continue reading “Never Let a Disaster Go To Waste”

Muddying the Upstream and Midstream Waters

In the last several years, EPA has issued numerous rules impacting the oil and gas industry. While petroleum refineries in the downstream segment face new compliance challenges with the first ever fenceline monitoring requirement for benzene, regulations imposed on the upstream and midstream segments seek to curb emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). As if these new challenges were not enough, the EPA has strongly signaled through information collection efforts that more regulations on the upstream and midstream segments are forthcoming. Continue reading “Muddying the Upstream and Midstream Waters”