The Texas legislature recently passed House Bill 2845 (“HB 2845”) imposing specific requirements on wind energy leases and wind developers’ decommissioning obligations for wind energy projects. While wind leases typically impose obligations on project companies relating to the removal of wind projects, HB 2845 mandates that wind leases must include specific provisions describing such obligations.
When beginning a solar project in Texas, developers must be cognizant of the potential conflict between the surface and mineral estates. In Texas, mineral rights can be severed from the surface estate, and when severed, the mineral estate rights are dominant, meaning the mineral estate has the implied right to use as much of the surface, subsurface, and adjacent airspace of the land as is reasonably necessary to locate and develop the mineral estate beneath. This right can cause complications for solar developers if not properly addressed.
This blog post focuses on the preemptive steps a solar developer should take to protect its project from impacts by oil and gas operations.
D.C. Circuit Upholds USEPA Decision to Not Require Financial Assurance Under CERCLA for Hardrock Mining
We have previously blogged (in June 2019 and 2017) on a proposed rule released during the final days of the Obama Administration which required hardrock mines to provide financial assurance demonstrating they are able to fund the costs associated with the future cleanup of the mines under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the federal statute designed to address releases of hazardous substances and the cleanup of hazardous waste sites nationwide. In December 2017, the USEPA stated its intention not to issue the final rule, finding that there was no need for any CERCLA financial assurance mechanism for operating hardrock mines based on existing federal and state programs as well as modern mining practices. Several environmental organizations filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, challenging the USEPA’s decision not to issue the rule. Continue Reading Updates on CERCLA Financial Assurance Requirements for Industry Sectors
Mark Savit recently published an article in Coal Age about the effect of MSHA regulations on the ability of the mining industry to take advantage of improving technology in the safety arena. Read it here.
A ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana may bring new coal leases on Federal lands to a standstill, pending review by the Department of the Interior under the National Environmental Policy Act.
The most recent Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Regulatory Agenda shows a further delay for the agency to finally promulgate long-awaited changes to its Chemical Accident Prevention Program, also known as the Risk Management Program (“RMP”). After Obama made major changes, the Trump EPA delayed them and now seeks to reverse them. Want to understand this complicated saga and learn what to expect? Amy Wachs gives you all you need to know here.
Are you aware of the deadlines and communication necessary to contest/challenge MSHA enforcement actions? Eric Dullea summarizes recent cases.
Read the full article from the June issue of Rock Products magazine.
Lawmakers of the 86th Texas Legislature passed several bills in regular session related to storage and cybersecurity, as well as a bill extending the expiration of a Chapter 312 tax abatement program that benefits renewable energy. These energy-related bills passed by the Texas Legislature are discussed below, as are notable bills that failed to gain traction this session.
“Each case of advanced black lung disease is an entirely preventable tragedy and represents mine operators’ unwillingness to adequately control mine dust exposures, and safety regulators failure to set, monitor and enforce standards necessary to protect miners,” writes our Erik Dullea. Learn more in his April piece via Coal Age.