Environmental Law



Environmental Law

Contact: James Plumb, Partner and Jasmine Wood, Solicitor; Carter Newell (Queensland, Australia)

The Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014 (Qld) (Common Provisions Act) was passed by the Queensland Parliament last month. The Common Provisions Act has now received assent and will come into effect on a proclamation date yet to be fixed.

The passage of the Common Provisions Act represents a key milestone in the Government’s Modernising Queensland Resource Act Program, a self-proclaimed flagship reform initiative for the resources industry. The ultimate goal of the program is to consolidate various legislative instruments1 that currently govern different elements of the Queensland resources sector (including mining, oil and gas, geothermal energy and greenhouse gas storage activities) with a single Act.

Read more: Common Provisions Act – Implications for Land Access and Compensation

Contact: William Brady; Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP (Missouri, USA)

According to a new study in the journal, Science, an increase in the number of earthquakes in central Oklahoma likely arises from the use of underground injection wells to dispose of treated wastewater from oil and gas fracking operations. The study, funded in part by the U.S. Geological Survey (“USGS”)and the National Science Foundation (“NSF”), focused on Oklahoma earthquakes and injection well practices. The research was led by Cornell University and included researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder.


Read more: New Study in the Journal Science Affirms Underground Injection from Fracking Causes Earthquakes

Contact: Piotr Spaczyński and Anna Piotrowska; SSW Spaczynski, Szczepaniak i Wspolnicy S.K.A.

In May 2014, the Ministry of Environment prepared guidelines concerning the procedure of comparing competitive applications for deposit prospecting or exploration concessions (except for hydrocarbons). The document was approved by the Chief Geologist of Poland. By introducing certain principles for the staff handling the competitive application procedure, the guidelines are intended to unify the practice of the concession authorities in the area of the evaluation of competing applications. The guidelines apply to all procedures initiated after their enforcement, i.e. 8 May 2014.

Read more: Poland's Ministry of Environment Guidelines on Competitive Application Procedure

Contact: James Price; Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP (Missouri, USA)

Earlier today, June 23, 2014, the United States Supreme Court dealt a blow to EPA’s current approach to regulating greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) through its air permitting program for new or expanding stationary sources. Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. No. 12-1146, ___ U.S. ___, June 23, 1014.

Read more: Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Aspects of EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations, But Upholds Other...

Contact: Andrew Brought; Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP (Missouri, USA)

On June 17, 2014, EPA issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register, 79 Fed. Reg. 34480, proposing to amend the standards and practices for satisfying All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) under CERCLA. In particular, EPA is proposing to remove references to the 2005 Phase I ESA Standard ASTM E1527-05 as satisfying AAI.


Read more: 2005 Phase I ESA Will No Longer Satisfy All Appropriate Inquiries Under EPA Proposed Rule