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SB24-229

Ozone Mitigation Measures

Concerning measures to mitigate ozone pollution in the state, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
Session:
2024 Regular Session
Subjects:
Energy
Natural Resources & Environment
Bill Summary

Section 2 of the bill requires the division of administration (division) in the department of public health and environment (department) to propose rules to the air quality control commission (commission) to reduce certain emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) generated by upstream oil and gas operations in certain areas of the state by 50% by 2030 relative to 2017 NOx emission levels. Section 3 requires the division to prepare an annual air quality enforcement benchmark report to summarize the division's statewide enforcement actions, including civil penalties assessed.

Under current law, the division or commission, in an enforcement action, cannot obtain a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction if there is probable cause that the temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction would cause serious harm to the person affected by the temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction or another person or if the source to which the enforcement action pertains has obtained a renewable operating permit and continues operations in compliance with that permit. Section 4 repeals those limitations on temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. Section 4 also authorizes a district attorney or the attorney general to seek injunctive relief to reduce the potential for a recurrence of a violation. Sections 5 and 6 clarify that the division has authority to impose civil penalties for violations of requirements related to toxic air contaminants, fenceline and community-based monitoring, and, if enacted in House Bill 24-1338, petroleum refinery emissions monitoring. Section 8 authorizes the director of the energy and carbon management commission (ECMC) to hire at least 2 community liaisons to serve as dedicated resources for disproportionately impacted communities, and section 12 authorizes funding of the community liaison positions from the energy and carbon management cash fund.

Under current law, an oil and gas operator (operator) is required to obtain a permit from the ECMC to commence oil and gas drilling operations. Section 9 requires the operator to also obtain from the ECMC a license to conduct oil and gas operations. Section 9 also requires operators to take actions in accordance with ECMC rules to reduce certain emissions of NOx generated from oil and gas production and preproduction operations. The ECMC is also required, in consultation with the department, to adopt rules to require enhanced systems and practices to avoid, minimize, and mitigate emissions of ozone precursors from oil and gas operations at newly permitted oil and gas locations in certain parts of the state. Section 10 limits a court's authority to postpone the effective date of an ECMC order suspending or revoking an operator's license to conduct oil and gas operations or a certificate of clearance, requiring the court to first consider various factors, including whether the moving party would face real, immediate, and irreparable injury if the effective date is not postponed and the effect that such postponement would have on the public interest. Section 11 expands the ECMC's enforcement authority to include revoking an operator's license to conduct oil and gas operations and expands the types of violations that are subject to suspension of all of the operator's permits and certificates of clearance and the operator's license to conduct oil and gas operations to include violations resulting in a penalty of $1,000,000 or more, violations that cause a major adverse impact, as defined by the ECMC by rule, and violations that cause death or serious bodily injury. Section 13 expands the scope of the orphaned wells mitigation enterprise to help finance the plugging, reclamation, and remediation of marginal wells that are at the highest risk of becoming orphaned.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)

Status

Introduced
Passed
Became Law

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Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details