July 30, 2013
98 San Jacinto Boulevard, Suite 1420
Austin, TX 78701-4296
(512) 391-8025
98 San Jacinto Boulevard, Suite 1420
Austin, TX 78701-4296
(512) 391-8040
98 San Jacinto Boulevard, Suite 1420
Austin, TX 78701-4296
(512) 391-8010
98 San Jacinto Boulevard, Suite 1420
Austin, TX 78701-4296
(512) 391-8020
98 San Jacinto Boulevard, Suite 1420
Austin, TX 78701-4296
(512) 391-8030

For more information about our firm, please visit www.bdlaw.com.

Office Locations:
› Washington, DC
› Maryland
› New York
› New Jersey
› Massachusetts
› Texas
› California

 

TEXAS DEVELOPMENTS

TCEQ Plans GHG Permitting Takeover as DC Circuit Dismisses Texas’ GHG Permitting Challenge

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.

Texas Among States Alleging EPA Noncompliance with FOIA Regarding Records of Negotiation/Settlement with NGOs

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").

Texas Railroad Commission Well-Plugging Program Audited

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.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Makes Critical Habitat Designations for Six West Texas Aquatic Invertebrate Species

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.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Delays Endangered Species Act Designation of Lesser Prairie-Chicken

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.

TCEQ Approves New Mechanism to Authorize MSS Emissions at Oil & Gas Facilities

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 Toxicology News

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.

Upcoming TCEQ Meetings and Events

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 Enforcement Orders

TCEQ announcements for enforcement orders adopted in July can be found on TCEQ's website.

Recent Texas Rules Updates

For information on recent TCEQ rule developments, please see TCEQ's website.

 

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

EPA Targets Combined Animal Feeding Operations for Criminal Enforcement

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.

Recycling Company Fined $4.5 Million for Illegal Export of Electronic Waste; Executives Receive Prison Sentences

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.

Federal Judge Rejects Challenges to SEC Conflict Minerals Rule

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.

President Obama Releases Climate Action Plan

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.

D.C. Circuit’s Decision Remanding PM-2.5 Implementation Rules Is Not Preventing Redesignation of PM-2.5 Nonattainment Areas

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.

King County, Washington Enacts Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program

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.

 

FIRM NEWS & EVENTS

Beveridge & Diamond Assists San Antonio Water System in Negotiating $1.1 billion Clean Water Act Settlement

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.

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. Receives Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s Thomas L. Sager Award for Diversity Accomplishments

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.

Beveridge & Diamond Obtains Affirmance of Dismissal of Challenge to Client’s Solid Waste Facility Operating Agreement in New York Appellate Court

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.

Beveridge & Diamond Wins Affirmance in D.C. Court of Appeals of Trial Court Victory on Tort Claims

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.

 
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