Energy & Natural Resources

On May 17, 2024, the Texas Supreme Court held that when a lease requires royalties to be paid on all gas sold or used off the premises, but the valuation point for said royalties is “at the well,” gas used off premises as fuel is deductible as a matter of law.
Continue Reading Texas Supreme Court Determines That Off-Lease Fuel is Deductible from Royalties Valued at the Well

On May 23, 2024, Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry signed into law the Community Air Monitoring Reliability Act (“the Act” or “CAMRA”). This Act sets standards for community air monitoring programs to ensure that the data collected from such programs provides the public accurate air quality information.
Continue Reading Louisiana Enacts Community Air Monitoring Reliability Act, Establishing Uniformity for Monitoring and Parameters for Data Use

On May 21, 2024, a group of 20 states, including Louisiana and Texas, filed an action in North Dakota district court challenging the Council on Environmental Quality’s (“CEQ”) finalized amendments to its National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) regulations, arguing that the rule seeks expanded environmental review without statutory authority.
Continue Reading Louisiana and Texas Challenge CEQ’s Finalized NEPA Amendments 

On April 17, 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued a Civil-Criminal Enforcement Coordination Policy (“Policy”) that requires EPA’s civil and criminal enforcement offices to collaborate throughout the planning and enforcement process.
Continue Reading EPA Issues Civil-Criminal Enforcement Coordination Policy, Changing Approach to How It Handles Collaboration Between the Two Offices

EPA issues two rules for regulating #PFAS under the #SDWA and #CERCLA. The rules (1) set enforceable limits in drinking water for six PFAS, and (2) designate two PFAS as #hazardous substances.
Continue Reading EPA Sets Limits on Certain PFAS in Drinking Water and Designates Some as Hazardous Substances Under CERCLA, Posing Vast Challenges for Waste and Other Industries

On April 15, 2024, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) released a prepublication of its highly anticipated final rule revising financial assurance requirements for oil, gas, and sulfur operations on the federal outer continental shelf (“OCS”).
Continue Reading BOEM’s New Financial Assurance Requirements for Federal Oil & Gas Leases, ROWs, and RUEs

On February 8, 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed two rules that would: (1) amend the regulatory definition of hazardous waste applicable to RCRA corrective actions to address releases from solid waste management units at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (“TSD facilities”), and (2) add nine per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”), their salts, and their structural isomers to the hazardous constituents list of RCRA.
Continue Reading EPA’s Proposed Rules for Regulating PFAS under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

Louisiana Senate Bill 268, one of a pair of lithium-focused bills filed by senator Stewart Cathey Jr., would establish a state sales tax rebate program for Louisiana lithium projects. This rebate would apply to sales tax paid for “all equipment, machinery, materials, improvements, and other items purchased in connection with the development, production, operation, storage, processing, or transportation of lithium or lithium refined products in connection with a qualified lithium recovery project.”
Continue Reading Proposed Law Would Create Louisiana Sales Tax Rebate for Lithium Recovery Projects

We are now seeing the Louisiana legislature address some of these uncertainties head on with Senate Bill 285, which was filed on March 1, 2024 by Louisiana senator Stewart Cathey, Jr. Namely, SB285 would grant authority to the Office of Conservation to establish units for brine production. Furthermore, the proposed legislation would revise the Mineral Code to expressly include brine among the substances to which the Mineral Code applies.
Continue Reading Proposed Brine Legislation May Pave the Way for Louisiana Lithium Projects

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently certified a question to the Texas Supreme Court asking what effect a free-use clause and an off-lease clause have on a royalty clause valuing royalties at the well. At issue was whether gas used as fuel off the leased premises could be deducted from royalties when the royalties were to be valued at the well under an oil and gas lease containing an off-lease clause and a free-use clause. Texas Supreme Court precedent provides that when a lease states that royalties must be valued on the gross proceeds received by lessees, free-use clauses do not allow for gas used as fuel off the leased premises to be deducted, but it is not clear on whether that same rationale would apply when royalties are valued at the well. Given that uncertainty, the Fifth Circuit could not confidently make an Erie guess on the issue and instead opted to certify the question to the Texas Supreme Court.
Continue Reading At the Well vs. Off the Lease: The Fifth Circuit Asks the Texas Supreme Court to Determine Whether Off-Lease Fuel May be Deducted from Royalties Valued at the Well