ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Hydraulic fracturing advocates have filed a brief in Alaska federal court contending that the Biden administration has failed to rebut their claims that the moratorium on fracking enacted through President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s executive order was unlawful.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The clerk of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has entered an order holding in abeyance a lawsuit brought by the American Petroleum Institute (API) against the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) related to what the API calls “an unlawful delay” in the DOI’s program for oil and gas leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge in Utah on April 4 granted a motion by the Biden administration staying the briefing in a lawsuit brought by the state of Utah and two municipalities over the dimensions of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, ruling that threshold legal issues must be resolved before addressing the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio denied class certification for landowners in a mineral rights dispute with a hydraulic fracturing company, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to meet the class action criteria regarding the proportionality of the potential damages to the actual harm and that individual inquiries must be conducted for each member of the proposed class.
BISMARCK, N.D. — A federal judge in North Dakota has approved the state of North Dakota’s request for an order enjoining and restraining the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) implementation of its moratorium on hydraulic fracturing lease sales in the state, but the judge denied the state’s request for an order compelling the DOI to hold the previously canceled quarterly lease sales for “available” lands.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on March 27 announced that it has reached an agreement with a hydraulic fracturing operator under which it will pay a combined $6.2 million in penalties and environmental improvement costs to ensure that it is in compliance with clean air regulations on all of its 239 well pads in New Mexico.
LOS ANGELES — An oil and gas exploration company sued a California municipality in California federal court, contending that it is liable for violating the company’s civil rights and arguing that it has violated the takings clause of the U.S. Constitution by changing zoning laws that make drilling difficult on lands for which the company already has the right to drill.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In a March 21 filing with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the owner of a patented method and system for fully electronic monitoring and control of hydraulic fracturing said it will appeal a January determination of obviousness.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Native American organization on March 20 moved to intervene in a lawsuit brought by other Native Americans who oppose the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision to allow a hydraulic fracturing development project in the National Petroleum Reserve on Alaska’s North Slope known as the Willow Project. The organization seeking to intervene says it has the right to do so because it represents the community of Nuiqsut, Alaska, the village closest to the project.
SCRANTON, Pa. — Pennsylvania landowners who had their royalty dispute dismissed when a federal judge found that they failed to produce evidence that created a genuine dispute of material fact regarding the negotiation of certain fees with a hydraulic fracturing operator have filed a notice of appeal to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
AUSTIN, Texas — A divided Texas Supreme Court on March 10 affirmed a lower court’s ruling in favor of landowners in a hydraulic fracturing royalty dispute, holding that the “broad lease language” of the agreement between the parties “unambiguously contemplates” a royalty base that may exceed gross proceeds.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Environmental groups filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia arguing that they are entitled to summary judgment in their dispute with the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) over the sale of oil and gas lease parcels for hydraulic fracturing because the DOI’s analysis that found that there was no significant impact from fracking was “arbitrary and capricious.”
CINCINNATI — A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 9 issued a mandate enforcing its unpublished opinion that a hydraulic fracturing operator validly pooled portions of the leasehold into a drilling unit and conducted operations that extended the lease in question such that it did not violate the lease by continuing operations, contrary to the claims of the leaseholders.
SALT LAKE CITY — A group of Native American tribes moved to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the state of Utah and two municipalities over the dimensions of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, contending that President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s proclamation reestablishing them is consistent with the Antiquities Act and, therefore, the lawsuit challenging the president’s decision fails.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia partially dismissed a hydraulic fracturing contract dispute as it relates to two fracking operators but denied dismissal with respect to claims against the remaining defendant for improper deductions of royalties.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania has denied a motion by leaseholders seeking reconsideration of an order that granted summary judgment in a dispute over cross-unit drilling of hydraulic fracturing wells, ruling that he did not “clearly err” in his interpretation of the lease in question.
DENVER — A drilling and well service company has sued the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) in state court challenging the legality of the COGCC’s order of noncompliance with regard to remediating hazards, which the company says effectively requires it to shut down wells and deprives it of operating revenue by suspending its authority to transport and sell oil and gas.
LOS ANGELES — An environmental advocacy group filed a brief in California federal court arguing that its lawsuit pertaining to offshore oil and gas activities along the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is valid and contending that the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) arguments that the case should be dismissed “have no legal basis and conflict with considerable precedent.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has filed a brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that oil and gas industry trade groups have not established standing and have not shown that there has been an unlawful delay in the DOI’s program for oil and gas leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A putative class of hydraulic fracturing royalty owners has sued an oil and gas company in Arkansas federal court contending that it has breached its obligations by failing to pay royalties based upon the gross proceeds actually received on the sale of natural gas to third-party purchasers at the pipeline interconnects, without deductions.