Regulatory Activity

Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water

Last week, pursuant to a request by Congress in 2010, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft report on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing activities on drinking water resources in the United States. The activities covered in the assessment include:  water acquisition, chemical mixing, well injection, flowback and produced water, and wastewater treatment and disposal. Consistent with what many in the oil and gas industry had advised EPA throughout the study and data provided by the industry, EPA indicated that it had “not [found] evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” However, the agency is accepting comment on the assessment and has scheduled public meetings to be held in September and October. Based on the information submitted to the agency, we do not anticipate that the fundamental conclusions in the draft assessment will change when EPA issues its final report.

Ozone

EPA has released four new methods that can be used by state and local entities measuring ground-level ozone in order to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQSs).

Renewable Fuels

On June 25, EPA will hold public hearings to receive comment on proposed rule “Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2017.”

Legislative Activity

Comprehensive Energy Bill

On Tuesday, June 9, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to consider the proposed legislation, S.15, which would amend the Mineral Leasing Act to allow states to regulate oil and gas operations. The Committee will also examine other energy-related bills during the hearing for possible inclusion in the Senate’s anticipated comprehensive energy bill.

WOTUS

On Wednesday, June 10, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will consider S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which would require EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to revise the definition of the term “waters of the United States.”

Water Resources

Also on Wednesday, June 10, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, will hold a hearing to examine the implementation of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which was passed one year ago in June of 2014.