EPA issued draft guidance revising its Technical Guidance for Assessing Environmental Justice in Regulatory Analysis. The proposed revisions incorporate portions of Executive Order 14096, and they align with the federal government’s push to enhance community involvement, to assess cumulative impacts, and put EJ issues front and center in agency decision-making. Read more about the proposed changes here. #environmentaljustice
Continue Reading EJ Evolution: EPA Issues Draft Revision of Technical Guidance for Assessing Environmental Justice in Regulatory Analysis

The EPA is seeking comments on its recently-published Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which proposes national performance standards under the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act. The EPA presents new data on ballast water management systems and solicits public comments on the standards and definitions applicable to ballast tanks, hulls and associated niche areas, and graywater systems. The Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking brings VIDA one step closer to full implementation.
Continue Reading EPA’s Proposed Rule on Vessel Incidental Discharges Brings VIDA One Step Closer to Full Implementation

On November 13, 2023, the U.S. Coast Guard published Policy Letter 23-05 which provides the first actual guidance for vessel owners and operators on the expectations for the surveillance equipment that they are required to install and maintain under the Safer Seas Act, which became law in December 2022 as part of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023.
Continue Reading USCG Issues First Guidance on Safer Seas Act Camera Requirements

Most American maritime and environmental attorneys and vessel owners are familiar with OPA 90 and oil spill liability in the United States. But what happens when a vessel spills oil in the territorial waters of another country?
Continue Reading Oil Spill Liability: OPA 90 v. the IMO’S CLC

EPA and the Army Corps published their new regulatory definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) today in response to the Supreme Court’s landmark Sackett decision from earlier this year. While the rule clearly narrows the scope of federally regulated wetlands, ambiguity remains as to certain types of wetlands.
Continue Reading EPA and Army Corps Release New WOTUS Rule

BOEM’s GOM wind lease sale earlier this week resulted in just 1 high bid of $5.6 million. A drop in the bucket compared to last year’s California wind lease sale which received five winning bids ranging from $130-$173.8 million and totaling $757.1 million. Now what? Find out here on Liskow’s Energy Law Blog.
Continue Reading First-Ever Gulf of Mexico Wind Auction Results in Only 1 Wind Lease Offshore Louisiana. What Happens Next?

The Council on Environmental Quality’s recent proposed revisions to NEPA regulations would explicitly include environmental justice in the NEPA process and codify a definition for the term. This proposal signals an upcoming first, a fixed place for EJ in federal law.
Continue Reading EJ Evolution: Proposed NEPA Regulations Spotlight Environmental Justice

Recent technology has made produced water—a byproduct of fracing that was traditionally considered waste—a valuable product. However, no legal guidance existed on whether produced water was owned by mineral owners or surface owners. The Texas Legislature resolved some of that uncertainty by passing Texas Natural Resources Code § 122.002 on September 1, 2019, which generally grants title to produced water to whoever takes possession of it for the purpose of treating it for subsequent beneficial use. However, this statute only governs parties to instruments executed after September 1, 2019, which left parties to instruments executed prior to that date uncertain on whether they owned the produced water extracted from their property. The El Paso Court of Appeals undertook to resolve this conflict in Cactus Water Services, LLC v. COG Operating, LLC, and on July 28, 2023, it held that when instruments convey “oil and gas” or “oil, gas and hydrocarbons” to mineral owners without specifically reserving title to produced water or oil and gas waste, mineral owners have the sole right to produced water extracted from their property.
Continue Reading One Man’s Waste is Another Man’s Treasure: Texas Appellate Court Holds that Produced Water Belongs to Mineral Owners

Louisiana shrimpers will need to comply with the NMFS rule requiring TED devices on skimmers 40 feet or greater in length. The rule went into effect in Louisiana waters on February 1, 2022, after a court granted a six-month preliminary injunction and while the state of Louisiana’s challenge to the rule was pending. The Fifth Circuit recently affirmed that the state of Louisiana does not have standing to challenge this TED rule and dismissed the suit.
Continue Reading Dismissal of Louisiana’s Challenge to TED Requirement for Shrimping Vessels in State Waters Affirmed