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Category Archives: Regulations

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Wage and Hour Claims Menace Producers

Posted in Litigation, Regulations

Co-author Michael Kelsheimer It’s common knowledge: Fair Labor Standards Act audits from the U. S. Department of Labor and lawsuits from workers for overtime violations are coming faster than a blitzing safety on a third and long. Native Oilfield Services is the latest target.  Dispatchers and truck drivers brought suit against Native alleging they were… Continue Reading

Citgo Prevails Over EPA at the Fifth Circuit

Posted in Environmental Policy, Regulations

USA v. Citgo Petroleum highlights the excruciating degree of detail in federal regulations and the gymnastics the EPA will employ to justify a prosecution. The Fifth Circuit has reversed Citgo Petroleum’s conviction for violations of two federal laws. Breathing Easier Under the Clean Air Act The EPA regulates oil refinery waste water treatment systems under… Continue Reading

In Wyoming, a Higher Burden for Chemical Disclosure Exemption?

Posted in Hydraulic Fracturing, Regulations

Co-author Sandra Mazan In Powder River Basin Resource Council v. Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Wyoming Supreme Court held that the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has the burden of justifying the use of trade secrets exemption from revealing the contents of hydraulic fracturing chemicals. The court also required the WOGCC, when deciding what a… Continue Reading

Federal Court: General Partnership Interest Could Be a Security

Posted in Litigation, Regulations

By: Martin P. Averill Are general partnership agreements for oil and gas exploration considered “securities” governed by federal securities regulations? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit  thinks they could be. In SEC v. Jeffory D. Shields and Geodynamics, Inc. et al., the court reversed a trial court ruling which dismissed the SEC’s claims… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Strikes Down Pro-Industry Law

Posted in Local Ordinances, Regulations

Author: Martin P. Averill In Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dealt a major blow to the energy industry. By a 4-2 decision the Court struck down a 2012 law (commonly known as “Act 13”) aimed at preventing municipal interference with oil and gas exploration. Three different approaches Interestingly, the precise rationale for… Continue Reading

Dallas City Council Passes Draconian Drilling Ordinance

Posted in Local Ordinances, Regulations

It was a triumph of hysteria over common sense, a thrashing of science at the hand of ignorance, capitulation to a small but loud minority of NIMBY protestors. The City of Dallas has passed one of the strictest drilling ordinances in the country.  The ordinance amounts to a defacto ban on future drilling because of the requirement that no well can be closer than five football fields from… Continue Reading

What’s the EPA Been Up To Lately?

Posted in Regulations

Ever the schoolyard bully, the EPA has been pushing its agenda against the will of the states, at least until the principal intervenes. A minority (that’s the Republicans) report by the U. S. Senate Committee on the Environment & Public Works asserts that the EPA is in violation of “cooperative federalism”, in which the EPA would… Continue Reading

BLM Clarifies Bond Requirements

Posted in Regulations

Co-author Brooke Sizer The Bureau of Land Management released a new Instructional Memorandum 2013-151, clarifying the re-evaluation of bonds required for operations on federal lands. The purpose was to clearly define the terms and conditions now set out in the regulation governing the subject: 43 CFR § 3104.5(b). Here is a brief summary of the IM: … Continue Reading

Federal Agencies Go After “Misclassified” Landmen

Posted in Regulations

Co-author Michael Kelsheimer Are your landmen independent contractors? Are they employees? What do they look like to the government? Why should you care about these questions? Because your government cares. When independent contractors do not report all of their income, or take questionable deductions to reduce their earnings, Uncle Sam is deprived of income, FICA, and… Continue Reading

Texas Well Integrity Rule Revised

Posted in Regulations

Co-author Jason Emmitte The Texas Railroad Commission has clarified and strengthened Rule 13, relating to requirements for drilling, putting pipe down, and cementing wells. The amendment will go into effect on January 1, 2014. Generally, the revisions govern the casing and cementing of all wells, unlike previous versions.  Highlights are: New and more precise definitions, for example,… Continue Reading

Changes Ahead for the Texas Railroad Commission?

Posted in Regulations

 The Texas Railroad Commission is going through the Sunset review required every 10 years for all state agencies. If approved, the pending legislation (House Bill 2166) would: A New Name • Change the name of the agency to the Texas Energy Resources Commission. Campaign Finance Reform • Limit the ability of commissioners and candidates to accept… Continue Reading

EPA Planning to Ban Coal-Fired Power Plants?

Posted in Energy Policy, Regulations

According to a Sunday blog post by Conn Carroll in the Washington Examiner, the EPA is hurrying efforts to implement regulations that would ban coal-fired power plants before the end of the year, in fear that a loss by President Obama in Tuesday’s election would put an end to what would otherwise be on the second-term agenda. Some will discredit that post as another example of … Continue Reading

Operators Can Be Guilty of Killing Migratory Birds

Posted in Regulations

 If a bird flies into your open-top oil storage tank – or your unprotected reserve pit – and dies, could you be guilty of the crime of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act? The short answer is “ Maybe”. In United States v. CITGO Petroleum Corp., ten dead birds were discovered in storage tanks at CITGO’s Corpus Christi… Continue Reading

EPA Region 6 Has New Administrator

Posted in Energy Policy, Regulations

Ron Curry is the EPA’s new administrator for Region 6, which is responsible for enforcement of federal environmental laws in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas.  Mr. Curry replaces Al “Crucify ’em” Armendariz, who was sacked earlier this year after comments, caught on video, in which he likened his tactics to the Romans of antiquity who supressed the villages they… Continue Reading

The Lizard that (Almost) Shut Down the Permian Basin

Posted in Regulations

BY CHANCE DECKER The oil patch breathed a collective sigh of relief on June 13 when the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would withdraw its proposal to list the dunes sagebrush lizard (which inhabits parts of eastern New Mexico and Texas’s Permian Basin) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (the ESA)…. Continue Reading

The EPA’s Flawed Energy Policy

Posted in Regulations

The predator returns. I don’t usually forward content created by others, and I try to avoid overtly political entries, but this one is from the June 14 Daily Policy Digest of the National Center for Policy Analysis.  It is worth reading if you pay attention to energy and environmental policy:  “For the last three years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has… Continue Reading

Wolves and the EPA Revisited

Posted in Regulations

My last post featured editorial kudos for the EPA’s evenhanded approach to regulation of one aspect of drilling: handling of methane and volatile organic compounds during fracking.  Perhaps the accolades were premature.  I speak of the recently exposed and widely distributed video of the then-new and recently-resigned EPA Region 6 director Al Armendariz invoking an inappropriate analogy to his “philosphy” of regulating oil and gas producers. If… Continue Reading

Environmental Penalties: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Posted in Regulations

In my never-ending effort to improve my position in life by associating with people who are smarter and more knowledgable than I am (my wife being a notable example), this entry is by noted environmental lawyer Cynthia Bishop (cbishop@cbishoplaw.com) on a topic that is important to anyone in the energy business. If your E&P or service company is growing quickly, you could… Continue Reading

Dallas Task Force Recommends Drilling Ordinance

Posted in Local Ordinances, Regulations

The Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force has issued recommendations for regulation of hydraulic fracturing.  The task force focused on zoning requirements, permitting requirements, air quality issues, and water-related issues.  A few highlights: Locations will be more difficult to find. Wells must be 1,000 feet from residences, churches, schools and other community buildings.  Setbacks of 500… Continue Reading

Is Your Compressor Station a Nuisance?

Posted in Regulations

If you operate wells, gas plants and similar facilities in populated areas, address your neighbors’ concerns. This could lead to increased costs and inconvenience in operations, but it might be cheaper in the long run.