Mealey's Fracking

  • April 25, 2018

    Judge Says Federal Agency Did Not Violate Law In Approving Fracking Permits

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M — A federal judge in New Mexico on April 23 ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did not violate federal law when it approved hydraulic fracturing permits to drill in the Mancos Shale/Gallup formations, despite claims by environmental advocacy groups that contended that the approval was “problematic” (Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, et al. v. Sally Jewell, et al., No. 15-209, D. N.M.; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67855).

  • April 24, 2018

    Judge Says Federal Agency Action Appropriately In Selling Fracking Leases

    DENVER — A federal judge in Colorado on April 23 ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did not act arbitrarily or capriciously when it auctioned leases for hydraulic fracturing because based on the information available to the agency, it could not have predicted the effect those leases would have on ozone emissions (Wild Earth Guardians v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, No. 16-3141, D. Colo.; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67869).

  • April 24, 2018

    Supreme Court Rejects Article III Challenge Of Inter Partes Review

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A divided U.S. Supreme Court on April 24 upheld the constitutionality of the inter partes review (IPR) procedure introduced in 2012 by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), 35 U.S.C. § 100 (Oil States Energy Services LLC v. Greene's Energy Group LLC, No. 16-712, U.S. Sup.).

  • April 23, 2018

    Agencies Have Not ‘Implicitly Considered’ Impact Of Fracking Pipeline, Groups Say

    RICHMOND, Va. — The Sierra Club Inc. and other environmental advocacy groups on April 18 filed a brief in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that government agencies have not “implicitly considered” the impact a pipeline to carry natural gas from hydraulic fracturing operations in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations would have on the Jefferson National Forest (Sierra Club Inc., et al. v. United States Forest Service, et al., No. 17-2399, 4th Cir.).

  • April 20, 2018

    Confidentiality Agreement Not Breached In Mineral Asset Sale, Judge Says

    DENVER — A federal judge in Colorado on April 12 ruled that a hydraulic fracturing company did not breach its confidentiality agreement with two other fracking companies regarding an auction of mineral rights and dismissed the case with prejudice (Branta Exploration & Production Company LLC, et al. v. Newfield Production Company, No. 15-416, D. Colo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62174).

  • April 20, 2018

    Split Texas Panel Reverses; Malice Not Shown In Trade Secret Misappropriation

    HOUSTON — A divided Texas appellate panel on April 19 reversed a $4.5 million award of exemplary damages in a hydraulic fracturing trade secret misappropriation case, finding that the evidence did not support a finding of malice.  The panel affirmed the other aspects of the lower court’s decision (Eagle Oil & Gas Co., et al. v. Shale Exploration LLC, No. 01-15-00888, Texas App., 1st Dist.; 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 2779).

  • April 20, 2018

    Agency Announces Intention To Lease At Least 800,000 Acres For Fracking In Alaska

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on April 19 filed a notice of intent in the Federal Register indicating that it will be holding public scoping meetings throughout Alaska as part of the agency’s plan to sell at least two leases to drill in areas not less than 400,000 acres for hydraulic fracturing by December 2024.

  • April 18, 2018

    Rehearing En Banc Needed For Rule Of Capture Decision, Fracking Company Says

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A hydraulic fracturing company on April 16 filed a brief in Pennsylvania Superior Court seeking rehearing en banc because it says a Superior Court panel “misapprehended material facts” when it determined that the rule of capture does not preclude a fracking company from liability for trespass where subsurface fractures, fracturing fluid and proppant cross boundary lines and extend into the subsurface estate of an adjoining property for which the operator does not have a mineral lease (Adam Briggs, et al. v. Southwestern Energy Production Company, No. 1351MDA2017, Pa. Super.).

  • April 9, 2018

    14 States, Others Sue EPA For Failure To Curb Methane Emissions From Fracking

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fourteen states, the District of Columbia and the city of Chicago on April 5 sued the Environmental Protection Agency and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking to compel Pruitt to comply with the nondiscretionary duty under federal law to establish guidelines for limiting methane emissions from existing sources in the oil and natural gas sector (New York, et al. v. E. Scott Pruitt, et al., No. 18-773, D. D.C.).

  • April 9, 2018

    Federal Approval Of Fracking Lease, Equitable Tolling Debated In 10th Circuit

    DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments March 22 in which attorneys for a landowner, the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and a hydraulic fracturing company debated whether the agency’s approval of a fracking lease and drilling permits violated federal law (Merrill Chance v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 17-5057, 10th Cir.).

  • April 9, 2018

    Panel: Rule Of Capture Does Not Preclude Fracking Company’s Trespass Liability

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court on April 2 reversed a trial court and ruled that the rule of capture concerning hydraulic fracturing operations does not preclude a fracking company from liability for trespass where subsurface fractures, fracturing fluid and proppant cross boundary lines and extend into the subsurface estate of an adjoining property for which the operator does not have a mineral lease (Adam Briggs, et al. v. Southwestern Energy Production Company, No. 1351MDA2017, Pa. Super.; 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 79).

  • April 5, 2018

    Judge Stays Implementation Of Methane Venting, Flaring Rule For Fracking Wells

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A federal judge in Wyoming on April 4 issued an order staying the implementation of the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule issued by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that requires oil and gas producers to use currently available technologies and processes to cut flaring in half at hydraulic fracturing wells on public and tribal lands (Wyoming, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 16-285, D. Wyo.).

  • April 4, 2018

    Town: Fracking Company Not Entitled To Fees; Proceedings Should Be Birfurcated

    PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania municipality on April 3 moved in federal court to bifurcate proceedings regarding a determination on attorney fees a hydraulic fracturing company seeks in connection with a dispute between the parties that centers on whether the municipality has the right to ban activities that violate their civil and environmental rights (Pennsylvania General Energy Company LLC v. Grant Township, No. 14-209, W.D. Pa.).

  • April 4, 2018

    Fracking Industry Group Moves To Intervene In Methane Rule Case In California

    SAN FRANCISCO — The American Petroleum Institute (API) on March 30 moved in California federal court to intervene in a dispute over the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision to repeal regulations pertaining to methane waste related to hydraulic fracturing, arguing that API’s members will be “directly damaged if the invalidated provisions of the Hydraulic Fracturing Rule were to take effect” (Sierra Club, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 18-524, California v. United States Bureau of Land Management, et al., No. 18-521, N.D. Calif.).

  • April 3, 2018

    COMMENTARY: When Strategies Go Awry: Part 6 In A Series On Cognitive Biases And Their Impact

    By Laura A. Frase

  • April 3, 2018

    Judge Rules Groups Have Standing To Contest Federal Fracking Permits

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A federal judge in New Mexico on March 31 ruled that citizen groups that contest the decision made by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to approve permits for hydraulic fracturing have standing to sue the agency because they have shown an “alleged increased environmental risk” or an aesthetic injury, which are constitutionally cognizable injuries (Dine Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, et al. v. Sally Jewell, et al., No. 15-209, D. N.M.).

  • March 30, 2018

    Pennsylvania High Court: Water Law Not Violated By ‘Mere Presence’ Of Contaminant

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court on March 28 affirmed a lower court’s ruling in a groundwater contamination case and concluded that “the mere presence” of a contaminant “in a water of the Commonwealth or a part thereof” does not establish a violation of Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law because movement of a contaminant into water is a predicate to violations (EQT Production Company v. Department of Environmental Protection of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 6 MAP 2017, Pa. Sup.; 2018 Pa. LEXIS 1572).

  • March 26, 2018

    Judge Approves Class, Experts In Fracking Royalty Lease Dispute

    CLEVELAND — A federal judge in Ohio on March 23 granted class certification to a group of hydraulic fracturing leaseholders who claim that Chesapeake Exploration LLC breached its agreement with them by calculating royalties using an incorrect price and ruled that the plaintiffs’ experts met the requirements for inclusion in the case (Dale H. Henceroth, et al. v. Chesapeake Exploration LLC, No. 15-2591, N.D. Ohio; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48382).

  • March 23, 2018

    Magistrate Judge: Fracking Patent Not Invalid Due To ‘Indefiniteness’

    DENVER — A federal magistrate judge in Colorado on March 9 defined disputed terms in a fracking patent dispute and determined that the patent in question was not invalid due to “indefiniteness,” as was argued by a company that was sued for patent infringement (Frac Shack Inc. v. Fuel Automation Station LLC, et al., No. 16-2275, D. Colo.; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39505).

  • March 23, 2018

    Groups: District Court Should Rule On Merits Or Dismiss Methane Rule Lawsuit

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Environmental advocacy groups on March 16 filed a brief in Wyoming federal court contending that the court should proceed to adjudicate the merits of a lawsuit over the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule issued by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or dismiss the case (Wyoming, et al. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 16-285, D. Wyo.).