On July 13, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the availability of 75.9 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for lease for the purpose of oil and gas exploration. The sale will be held on August 16, 2017 in New Orleans. To encourage oil and gas exploration, shallow water leases will have a reduced royalty rate. Leases in less than 200 meters of water will have a 12.5% royalty rate, and those in depths greater than 200 meters are subject to an 18.75% royalty rate. The sale will include 14,220 unleased blocks, from three to 231 miles offshore in water depths from nine to 11,115 feet. This sale is the first offshore sale of the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, which was created as required by the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Lands Act. The Leasing Program covers the years 2017-2022 was approved in early 2017. It scheduled 11 potential lease sales in two program areas in all or parts of 4 OCS planning areas: 10 sales in the combined Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Program Area, and one sale in the Cook Inlet Program Area offshore Alaska.
When construction began in 2010, the Kemper County power plant was slated to be the crown jewel of clean coal. The centerpiece of the Obama administration’s climate plan, it was thought that Kemper’s revolutionary ability to burn gasified coal while emitting significantly less pollution than conventional coal-fired plants would simultaneously pave the way for future low-emission energy and provide a much needed shot in the arm for a dying coal industry. However, amidst scandal and setback, the Kemper plant is now $5 billion over budget and several years past deadline, and after a recent recommendation from state regulators, may have to abandon coal altogether in favor of cheaper natural gas.
In a 9 to 5 vote, the Arkansas Plant Board today voted to ban the use of dicamba in crops and increase civil penalties for misuse of the herbicide.
Chambers and Partners has named PPGMR Law partner Alan Perkins as a Tier 1 environmental litigation attorney in its 2017 guide to the best attorneys and law firms in the United States.
Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit dismissed a case brought by the Ozark Society against the National Forest Service and other federal agencies that centered on natural gas exploration of the Fayetteville Shale in the Ozark National Forest.