WASHINGTON, D.C. — Environmental groups on Sept. 15 moved in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for an emergency stay of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to rescind the 2016 Methane Waste Prevention Rule, arguing that the EPA administrator engaged in a "transparent effort to manufacture reasons to rescind protections" designed to reduce pollution caused by the flaring of methane during oil and gas operations (Environmental Defense Fund, et al. v. Andrew Wheeler, et al., No. 20-1359, D.C. Cir.).
DENVER — A hydraulic fracturing company on Sept. 14 sued the city and county of Broomfield, Colo., in Colorado federal court, contending that it is using its regulatory and police powers in bad faith to "illegally and unconstitutionally" shut down the company's operations (Extraction Oil & Gas Inc. v. The City and County of Broomfield, No. 20-2779, D. Colo.).
DENVER — Environmental groups on Sept. 15 filed a petition in Colorado federal court contending that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated federal law when it approved a resource management plan (RMP) that made nearly 1 million acres of public lands and mineral estate in Colorado's Western Slope available for hydraulic fracturing (Western Slope Conservation Center, et al. v. United States Bureau of Land Management, et al., No. 20-2787, D. Colo.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Sept. 9 filed a brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that the need for a pipeline to carry hydraulically fractured oil was established based on the long-term contracts that exist for the project's capacity (Environmental Defense Fund v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, No. 20-1016, D.C. Cir.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Sept. 11 issued an administrative order suspending all work by Sunoco Pipeline LP on the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Chester County, Pa., while the company submits plans to change the original route of the pipeline, which is designed to transport hydraulically fractured oil and gas from shale formations in Pennsylvania to refineries in Marcus Hook, Pa. (In the matter of: Sunoco Pipeline LP, Pa. DEP).
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The states of Wyoming and Montana on Sept. 4 filed a joint reply brief in Wyoming federal court contending that the 2016 the Methane Waste Prevention Rule, which requires oil and gas producers to use currently available technologies and processes to cut flaring in half at oil wells on public and tribal lands in an effort to reduce methane pollution, is "unlawful" and should be vacated (Wyoming, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 16-285, D. Wyo.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Two hydraulic fracturing industry trade groups on Sept. 4 moved in California federal court to intervene in a drinking water lawsuit brought pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA), contending that some states have "improperly used procedural gimmicks" to prolong certification decisions the companies need to conduct fracking operations (American Rivers, et al. v. Andrew Wheeler, et al., No. 20-4636, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Trump administration on Aug. 10 filed a response in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that conservationists' supplemental authorities cited in opposition to offshore oil and gas exploration in the Arctic "overlook a critical distinction with this appeal" and that the groups still lack standing (League of Conservation Voters, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., Nos. 19-35460, 19-35461 and 19-35462, 9th Cir.).
HOUSTON — Hydraulic fracturing operator Chesapeake Energy Corp. and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reached a deal on July 17 that ended Chesapeake's adversary proceeding in federal bankruptcy court in Texas as FERC agreed that it would not issue any ruling regarding Chesapeake's requirement to honor certain contracts while it is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy (In re: Chesapeake Energy Corporation, No. 20-33233, Adv. No. 20-03231, S.D. Texas Bkcy.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A hydraulic fracturing operator on Aug. 5 filed a brief in the Ohio Supreme Court contending that mandamus relief to compel the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to issue a saltwater injection well permit to dispose of fracking waste is its only way out of "administrative purgatory" (Ohio ex rel. Omni Energy Group LLC v. Ohio Department of Natural Resources, No. 202-0528, Ohio Sup.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — The CEO of a hydraulic fracturing company on Aug. 17 filed a first-day declaration in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware, saying his company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy, its second in little more than four years, was precipitated by "a historic decline" in oil and natural gas prices that was worsened by the new coronavirus pandemic and "certain actions taken by Russia and Saudi Arabia" (In re: Chaparral Energy Inc., No. 20-11947, D. Del. Bkcy.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Aug. 27 filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that a district court erred when it ruled that an injunction preventing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is valid because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to perform "a full and proper analysis" of the environmental impact caused by construction of the pipeline (Northern Plains Resource Council, et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et al., Nos. 20-35412, 20-35414, 20-35415, and 20-35432, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Numerous state attorneys general on Aug. 28 sued the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in California federal court, saying it exceeded its authority when it changed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that the plaintiffs say will reduce regulations for hydraulic fracturing operations and other types of development that harm groundwater and the climate. The changes to NEPA followed an executive order issued by President Donald J. Trump (States of California, et al. v. Council on Environmental Quality, No. 20-6057, N.D. Calif.).
AUSTIN, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on Aug. 28 denied a motion for a preliminary injunction sought by the Sierra Club, which sought to halt construction of a hydraulic fracturing pipeline that is being opposed in three separate but related lawsuits that contend that the pipeline will taint the aquifer that supplies drinking water to the surrounding community (Sierra Club v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, et al., No. 20-460, W.D. Texas).
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — An environmental advocacy group and the attorneys general for California and New Mexico on Aug. 25 filed a supplemental response brief in Wyoming federal court contending that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) decision to rescind the Methane Waste Prevention Rule is an attempt to "circumvent the administrative process" and that the BLM's "confession of error" is "legally flawed" (Wyoming, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 16-285, D. Wyo.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bipartisan group consisting of 87 members of Congress on Aug. 25 sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging him to immediately withdraw the EPA's New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the oil and gas industry regarding methane emissions.
NEW YORK — A shareholder on Aug. 24 filed a putative class action against a hydraulic fracturing services company in New York federal court, alleging violations of federal securities laws as a result of misrepresentations the company made in its financial projections (James Costello v. CNX Midstream Partners LP, et al., No. 20-6820, S.D. N.Y.).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The National Audubon Society (NAS) and other environmental advocacy groups on Aug. 24 sued Secretary of the Interior David W. Bernhardt in Alaska federal court, contending that he and agencies under his authority violated federal law when they approved a hydraulic fracturing leasing program in the Coastal Plan of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (National Audubon Society, et al. v. David W. Bernhardt, et al., No. 20-205, D. Alaska).
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on Aug. 18 filed a brief in Wyoming federal court confessing its "error" in connection with promulgating the 2016 Methane Waste Prevention Rule that regulates the flaring of methane gas in hydraulic fracturing operations and insisting that it is flawed and should be vacated (Wyoming, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 16-285, D. Wyo.).
BOISE, Idaho — A federal judge in Idaho on Aug. 17 denied various hydraulic fracturing companies the right to intervene in a federal lease dispute on grounds that they were already represented by another intervenor but granted other fracking operators the right to intervene pursuant to the narrow issue contained in a footnote to a previous memorandum decision and order regarding requests as to what work, if any, will be permitted during a stay in drilling activity (Western Watersheds Project, et al. v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 18-187, D. Idaho).