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  • 05

    Drilling deal struck in Colorado

    Jack Healy

    New York Times

    DENVER — Seeking to head off a costly election-year fight over oil and gas drilling that could threaten vulnerable Colorado Democrats, Gov. John W. Hickenlooper said Monday that he had reached a deal to keep two antifracking measures off November’s ballots.

    The fight over fracking in a swing state that prizes its natural beauty and relies on its energy resources for jobs and tax revenues has become a monthslong headache for Democratic leaders, opening fissures within the party and between pro-energy moderates and environmental groups that want to impose tough limits on the oil and gas rigs sprouting up alongside subdivisions. [more]

  • 29

    Oklahoma Senator Inhofe introduces legislation to address ESA listings

    US Senator Jim Inhofe

    [link to release]

    US Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), senior member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, introduced two bills today to address the listings of the American Burying Beetle (ABB) and the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

    American Burying Beetle

    The American Burying Beetle Relief Act of 2014, S. 2678, would remove ABB from the list of endangered species under ESA. The ABB population has grown significantly and appears to exist in far more areas than it did prior to its listing in 1989, yet the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has not changed or removed ABB from its listing. At the time of introduction, cosponsors of the bill included Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). Text of the legislation is available by clicking [here].
    “The American Burying Beetle’s population growth has occurred despite very limited recovery projects by the Fish and Wildlife Service, underscoring how little we actually know about the Beetle and its risk of extinction,” said Inhofe. “The Endangered Species Act is designed to protect species that may go extinct, and the ABB is showing increasing resiliency.  Delisting the ABB is an appropriate step given the expansion of the population since 1989 and the lack of understanding about what may pose a risk to the species’ health.”

    Lesser Prairie Chicken

    The Lesser Prairie Chicken Voluntary Recovery Act of 2014, S. 2677, would remove the LPC from the list of threatened species under ESA  for a period of five years to allow the state-driven conservation plans to take affect. At the time of introduction, cosponsors of the bill included Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX). Text of the legislation is available by clicking [here].
    “The voluntary conservation plan established by the states enrolled 9 million acres and committed $43 million to conservation projects – a greater commitment than expected by the US Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Inhofe. “Despite states already appropriately addressing the problem, the federal government was quick to insert itself into the situation and proceeded in listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken this past March. Last year, the bird’s population grew by 20 percent because of increased rainfall. With more rain coupled with the states’ conservation plan, the bird can be successfully conserved without federal government intervention. My legislation gives the states’ the opportunity to implement their plan for five years, at which point FWS will have the option to reconsider the status of the bird and its health. As we have seen with the American Burying Beetle, it is much more difficult to delist a species than it should be and this impediment can greatly hinder economic development for communities where these species exist.”
    "We applaud Senator Inhofe for introducing a bill that recognizes our agricultural producer's conservation efforts for the Lesser Prairie Chicken. This bill will allow the delisting of the LPC in 5 years while Oklahoma farmers and ranchers continue to be the best stewards of their land," said Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Tom Buchanan.
    “We appreciate the effort that Senator Inhofe has put forth in his treatment of the recovery of threatened and endangered species in the introduction of the American Burying Beetle Relief Act of 2014 and the Lesser Prairie Chicken Volunteer Recovery Act of 2014,” said Roger Kelly, director of Regulatory Affairs for Continental Resources and chairman of the Regulatory Committee for the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance. These bills represent a common sense approach to the recovery of the subject species based on credible science and conservation activities that will benefit both the species and the American people.”
    During Inhofe’s tenure on the EPW Committee, Inhofe made it a priority to avoid a listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), working closely with FWS Director Dan Ashe to advance public-private partnerships to conserve the species. On March 24, Inhofe sent a letter ahead of the listing deadline to Ashe reiterating the hard work that Oklahoma and four other states together with FWS have done to successfully establish a voluntary range-wide conservation plan (FWP) and Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAAs). On March 27, the LPC was listed as “threatened,” and while better than an endangered listing, Inhofe called the decision “purely political” in nature.
  • 28

    US ships first oil exports in 40 years

    Keith Kohl

    Energy and Capital

    News broke Thursday, July 24, that the first two shipments of US ultra-light oil, or condensate, have found buyers.

    If you remember, we've been closely following condensate exports, and – as predicted – they have officially become the first step towards removing the ban on crude oil exports for the US. [more]

  • 23

    Let our oil and gas go

    Steven Rattner

    The New York Times

    As a young reporter covering energy for The New York Times, I saw firsthand the distortions and inefficiencies caused by the web of regulations that followed the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, and the resulting surge in gasoline prices.

    So I shared in the frisson of excitement last month when the Commerce Department cleared two Texas companies to export an ultralight, processed form of oil called condensate. It seemed like a step toward relaxing the ban on the export of crude oil, the biggest stricture remaining from the '70s energy crisis.

    But then the Obama administration quickly insisted that the Commerce Department, in narrowing the definition of crude oil so that condensate could be exported, was not about to lift the ban more widely. “There has been no change to our policy on crude oil exports,” a White House spokesman said.

    That’s unfortunate, because America’s renewed hydrocarbon boom could be even more robust if we eased outdated restrictions on shipping both crude oil and liquefied natural gas overseas. [more]

  • 03

    Ruling states EPA must uniformly apply air aggregation requirements

    Bracewell & Giuliani LLP

    Article by Sandra Y. Snyder, Richard Alonso & Grant B. MacIntyre

    EPA suffered a major loss on May 30 when the DC Circuit refused to uphold EPA’s attempt to narrow the ruling in the Summit aggregation case to only the states in the 6th Cir. 

    Reversing more than 20 years of EPA practice, the Summit case directed EPA to refrain from using interdependency or the functional interrelatedness of various sources when making a determination regarding whether to aggregate the emissions from those sources for NSR and Title 5 permitting purposes. [more