Category: Energy

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California Air Resources Board Issues AB 32 Report

The California Air Resources Board has released its first semi-annual report to the California Legislature on the agency’s AB 32 programs, designed to meet the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  The report details recent developments and anticipated milestones for three of CARB’s major AB 32 initiatives:  the cap … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives Publishes Primer on the Basics of California’s Cap and Trade Program

California’s Cap and Trade Program is now a reality. Businesses needs answers to questions arising from this complex program. Now that the State of California has held its first auction of carbon allowances under the Program and the initial compliance period of 2013-2014 is now underway, Stoel attorneys Michael Mills, Tom Henry and Allison Smith … Continue Reading

Fresno Court Denies Farm Bureau Challenge to Williamson Act Cancellation for Solar Project

The Fresno County Superior Court has denied the California Farm Bureau Federation’s challenge to Fresno County’s cancellation of a Williamson Act contract to accommodate a solar generating project.  The decision is the first to take on the interplay between the Williamson Act’s goals to protect agricultural land and the State’s directive to increase reliance on … Continue Reading

DOGGR Announces Plans for UIC Rulemaking re Fracking

In an action plan provided to EPA on November 16, the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) committed to initiate rulemaking in 2013 to increase groundwater protection relating to fracking through its underground injection control (UIC) program. DOGGR developed the plan in response to EPA's request to address concerns relating to EPA's 2011 review of DOGGR's UIC program. In the plan, DOGGR indicates the rulemaking will address the UIC program as well as well construction and plugging and abandonment regulations.… Continue Reading

California Lawmakers Table Fracking Bills.

On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee shelved two bills relating to fracking, AB 972 and AB 591.  AB 972 would have placed a moratorium on fracking in California pending issuance of state regulations governing the practice (See August 14 post).  AB 591 would have required operators to disclose fracking activities and chemicals (See May 8 … Continue Reading

State Senate Postpones Vote on Bill to Ban Fracking

After the California Senate Appropriations Committee cancelled an August 13 hearing on AB 972 (see August 8 post), the Committee moved the bill to the suspense file to take up again this Thursday, August 16.  The bill would place a moratorium on fracking in the state until the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Interior Moves to Streamline Solar Development in the West

On July 24, 2012, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced that it will publish the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (“Solar PEIS”) for solar energy development in six southwestern states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.  The Solar PEIS is a major step ahead in the permitting of utility-scale solar energy on public … Continue Reading

Report Highlights Weaknesses in EPA’s Fracking Study

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) recently issued a report from Battelle Memorial Institute pointing out the weaknesses in U.S. EPA’s proposed study of hydraulic fracturing operations.  For example:  “Congress requested a study ‘relying on best available science and independent sources of information.’ It appears questionable, because of its genesis … Continue Reading

California Senate Committee Advances Bill for Fracking Moratorium Pending Further Regulation

The Senate Committee on Environmental Quality on July 3rd advanced a bill (AB 972) that would prohibit the State Oil and Gas Supervisor from approving the drilling of a fracking well until the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) adopts fracking regulations.  Existing law requires a well operator to obtain approval before commencing … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Rules

Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, upholding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to the regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions against claims from a variety of interests.  The opinion addressed challenges to three EPA rulemakings:  (1) the agency’s “Endangerment Finding,” where it determined … Continue Reading

House Democrats Seek Tighter Regulation of Fracking on Federal Lands and BLM Extends its Comment Period

Describing the proposed BLM rule for fracking as “a good first step,” a group of 38 Democrats in the House of Representatives called for disclosure of fracking chemicals before drilling.  The proposed regulations require disclosure of fracking chemicals only after the operation is complete.  In a letter to the Department of the Interior, the lawmakers … Continue Reading

California Senate Votes Against Fracking Notification Bill

On Wednesday, the California Senate voted 17 to 18 against SB 1054, which would have required notification to nearby property owners of planned fracking operations.  See the April 19, 2012, blog post for more details on the bill.  The Senate granted the bill “reconsideration”, which would allow another vote before Friday’s deadline for bill advancement. … Continue Reading

California Oil Producers Agree to Share Fracking Information

Several members of the Western States Petroleum Association have agreed to share information about their fracking operations in response to the California Department of Conservation’s request for operators to report to a disclosure registry, FracFrocus (see May 8, 2012 post).  Many, including Occidental Petroleum Corp. and XTO Energy/ExxonMobil, have already posted to the website, which … Continue Reading


At the end of last week, EPA and BLM each released draft requirements relating to fracking.  EPA released draft Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II well permitting guidance for fracking activities that use diesel fuels.  BLM released draft rules requiring public disclosure of fracking chemicals used on public and Indian lands. The EPA guidance applies … Continue Reading

Injunction on California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Lifted Pending Appeal

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted an injunction that prevented the California Air Resources Board (CARB) from enforcement of the state’s low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), pending appeal of a lower court decision enjoining the LCFS.  In December 2011, a federal district court found the LCFS in violation of the dormant commerce clause, … Continue Reading

Feds Announce Air Pollution Rules for “Fracked” Natural Gas Wells – Delay Implementation

On April 17, the Environmental Protection Agency issued new rules designed to curb the emission of air pollutants from “fracked” natural gas wells. Originally submitted last summer, the new rules will be gradually implemented over the next two to three years and look to curb emissions by 95%. The EPA commented that the need for … Continue Reading

California Senate Committee and President Obama Act on Fracking

Last week, the California Senate’s National Resources Committee advanced a bill requiring notice to nearby property owners of planned fracking operations, and President Obama issued an Executive Order setting up an interagency working group to support safe and responsible fracking. California law requires the operator to file a written notice of intent to commence drilling … Continue Reading

DRECP EIS/EIR Scoping Meeting at the Energy Commission

It’s a double header at the California Energy Commission (CEC) today.  The Renewable Energy Action Team – comprised of the CEC, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – is holding two public scoping meetings for the combined environment impact statement/environmental … Continue Reading

Wind Farm Development in California: A Case Study on How to Overcome Legal and Business Hurdles

Our team of renewable energy attorneys recently published a detailed Case Study of a complex, multi-phase, 600 MW wind project. This hypothetical illustration provides an overview of the myriad issues, both legal and practical, that a wind energy project developer faces in California. The Case Study is a useful resource for all potential wind developers … Continue Reading

CARB Issues Supplement to A.B. 32 Scoping Plan Environmental Review

Yesterday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a Supplement to its Functional Equivalent Document (FED) for the A.B. 32 Climate Change Scoping Plan – the environmental review document for the Scoping Plan.  The Supplement was prepared as a result of a ruling against CARB in Association of Irritated Residents, et al. v. California Air … Continue Reading

CEC Moves Forward on Implementation of 33% RPS

On June 3, the California Energy Commission (“CEC”) issued a Notice of Intent to Implement 33 Percent Renewables Portfolio Standard (“RPS”).  The new 33% RPS was signed into law by Governor Brown on April 12, 2011.  The legislation for the first time expanded the RPS to publicly-owned utilities (“POU”), and tasked the CEC with, among … Continue Reading

California Cap & Trade Challenge Final Order Issued

On Friday, May 20, 2011, Judge Goldsmith of San Francisco Supreme Court issued a final order  (PDF) with respect to a lawsuit challenging the environmental review of the Cap and Trade regulations created under California’s AB 32 Greenhouse Gas statute and the associated Scoping Plan. In its order, the Court enjoined the Cap and Trade portion of the … Continue Reading