Energy & Resources Notes Spring 2015

Current Energy & Resources Notes

  • No Mora Moratorium on Drilling
    United States District Court Judge James Browning issued a lengthy opinion on January 19, 2015 invalidating Mora County's "Community Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance," which was enacted by the County in 2013 that prohibited oil and gas development by corporations in the county.   See SWEPI, LP v. Mora County, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13496 (D.N.M. Jan. 19, 2015).  Continue Reading.


  • New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission Adopts New Produced Water Regulations
    On March 12, 2015, the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission formally approved a revision to the Commission's produced water regulations. The revised Rule repeals and replaces existing Rule 34, which regulates the disposition of produced water, and enacts a new rule regulating the reuse and recycling of produced water to reduce reliance on fresh water for well completions. The rule was approved by OCD Order Number 15239, and will become effective March 31, 2015. Continue Reading.

  • Environmental Groups Sue to Stop Fracking Near Chaco Canyon
    The fight over fracturing ("fracking") associated with directional drilling plans for the Mancos Shale in northern New Mexico is heating up. On March 11, 2015, a coalition of environmental groups, including Dine Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Wildearth Guardians, and Natural Resources Defense Council, filed suit against the U.S. Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), alleging violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Continue Reading.

  • BLM Publishes New Rule for Hydraulic Fracturing; Oil and Gas Groups Bring Challenge
    On March 26, 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published in the Federal Register its much anticipated new regulatory rule governing hydraulic fracturing (HF) operations conducted on federal and Indian lands. 80 Fed. Reg. 16128-16222 (March 26, 2015). The rule culminates a public process resulting from controversial draft rulemakings published originally in May 2012 and again in May 2013 that drew well over a million public comment submissions. Continue Reading.

  • Office of Natural Resources Revenue Releases Proposed Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform
    United States District Court Judge James Browning issued a lengthy opinion on January 19, 2015 invalidating Mora County's "Community Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance," which was enacted by the County in 2013 that prohibited oil and gas development by corporations in the county.   See SWEPI, LP v. Mora County, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13496 (D.N.M. Jan. 19, 2015). The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), a Pennsylvania nonprofit that advocates for community self-governance developed the Ordinance. Continue Reading.

  • Revised Draft Guidance Regarding Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change in NEPA Reviews
    On December 18, 2014, the Council on Environmental Quality ("CEQ") issued revised draft guidance ("Revised Draft Guidance") for analyzing greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions and climate change impacts in National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") analyses. CEQ's Revised Draft Guidance replaces the CEQ's 2010 draft guidance. Continue Reading.

  • Understanding and Planning for How Bankruptcy Might Impact Responsibility for Environmental Liabilities
    This article examines the sometimes uneasy intersection between laws addressing responsibility for environmental liabilities and the protections afforded to debtors under the United States Bankruptcy Code. Following a number of industrial related environmental incidents and mishaps, in 1976 Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 ("RCRA"), by which Congress intended to reduce generation of toxic and hazardous wastes and ensure the proper disposal, treatment, and storage of such wastes. Continue Reading.