Morning Headlamp: EPA Clean Water Act – 404 “see” you later?

Not so fast on methane gas. In a 2-1 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled last week that the EPA could not postpone implementing the methane rule for three months, denying the agency’s request. But Justice Department lawyers representing the EPA asked to delay enforcement while the agency considers an appeal. Public interest groups and local stakeholders at a public hearing Monday urged the Environmental Protection Agency to continue to enforce methane regulations.

EPA proposes reversing harmful determination for Pebble Project. The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to withdraw its July 2014 Clean Water Act propose determination that would have implied restrictions on the discharge of dredged or fill material at the Pebble Project in the Bristol Bay watershed. The agency is beginning a public comment period before making a decision. The rule in question, Clean Water Act Section 404(c) was proposed in 2014. It would have restricted discharges of dredge or fill material into the Bristol Bay watershed. It required a permit specific to the section. The mine’s backers saw it as a pre-emptive veto of the mine. The rule came after a study by the EPA’s Region 10 to assess the Bristol Bay watershed, which feeds one of the state’s largest salmon fisheries. Mike Heatwole, spokesman for the Pebble Partnership, said Tuesday “a lot of Alaskans who work in the resource development community looked at it and said ‘if the federal government can do this to Pebble, who’s next in the queue to get this unfair treatment?’”

Anybody’s guess. Oil rebounded Wednesday to rise above $48 a barrel in response to a drop in U.S. fuel inventories and a reduction in the U.S. government’s forecast for crude output. Oil prices for the last 30 days are shown below:

(Chart from Nasdaq.)


Exporting LNG can harm local markets. Australia has been making many headlines in global news outlets recently, related to the situation of its gas industry. It has been experiencing electricity shortages in cities like Adelaide and there’s a dilemma between policy makers ramping up exports of LNG and internal consumption. What will happen to one of the top gas producers and key ally of the United States, now that other players like Qatar and Russia are experiencing problems of their sort? Could it spell positive news for the U.S. in this regard? Read more from Oil Pro here.


First Reads

Advocates for Methane Rule Dominate EPA Hearing
Morning Consult, Iulia Gheorghiu, July 10, 2017

EPA considers withdrawing Clean Water Act restrictions for Pebble Project
KTUU, Kortnie Horazdovsky and Mike Ross, July 11, 2017

Uptick for oil prices amid fall in US inventories
Oil Pro, Staff, July 12, 2017

How Energy-Rich Australia Exported Its Way Into an Energy Crisis
The Wall Street Journal, Rachel Pannett, July 10, 2017