WASHINGTON, D.C. — A decision by a federal judge in Texas to transfer, in view of COVID-19 protocols, a patent dispute over technology used in the hydraulic fracturing industry from one division to another is not worthy of mandamus review, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 23.
FRESNO, Calif. — The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and other groups on March 22 sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in California federal court seeking declaratory relief for its “hasty decision to sell the first oil and gas leases on public land in California in nearly a decade” without performing the legally required “hard look” concerning the impact they will have on groundwater, climate and the health of local communities.
BISMARCK, N.D. — A hydraulic fracturing company on March 9 filed a notice in North Dakota federal court dismissing its lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) regarding pending applications for permits to drill (APD) because the DOI granted the APDs shortly after the case was filed, thus eliminating the need for relief.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on March 8 remanded for review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) hydraulic fracturing leases in the Wayne National Forest, ruling that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) failed to take the “hard look” that is required under NEPA when they analyzed the impact of fracking in the national forest.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In lengthy oral arguments that contained regular interruptions for clarifying questions regarding the approval of a hydraulic fracturing pipeline deal, a panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 8 pressed the attorneys for both sides as they expressed confusion regarding their respective arguments. The judges voiced their concern over the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A hydraulic fracturing pipeline company on March 1 filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that it should reverse a lower court’s ruling that determined that the pipeline company does not have all the rights of the federal government with regard to the power of eminent domain because that decision “not only is wrong but poses an obvious threat to pipeline development.”
SAN FRANCISCO — A two-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 13 issued an order expediting the appeal of a Native American group that advocates for “a balanced Earth,” which seeks an injunction to prevent hydraulic fracturing activities in the National Petroleum Reserve on Alaska’s North Slope.
HOUSTON — A company that manufactures equipment used in hydraulic fracturing operations on Feb. 9 sued a business competitor in Texas federal court, seeking a declaration that the manufacturer is not infringing on a patent held by its competitor.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A family trust on Feb. 17 filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that a Pennsylvania state court violated the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution when it ruled that a 1908 tax sale extinguished the trust’s subsurface rights to oil and gas deposits, which the state then sold to a hydraulic fracturing company.
PITTSBURGH — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on March 1 announced that ETC Northeast Pipeline LLC will pay a $125,000 civil penalty to resolve a previous DEP order that prohibited ETC from putting natural gas in unstable sections of the Revolution Pipeline due to previous landslides and methane leaks.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Feb. 25 announced that it has reached a consent agreement under which Sunoco Pipeline LP has paid $497,000 for violating the state’s Clean Streams Law (CSL), as well as other codes related to Sunoco’s operation of the Mariner East 2 pipeline, which carries hydraulically fractured gas across Pennsylvania.
OAKLAND, Calif. — An environmental group on Feb. 24 sued a state agency that grants permits for hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas exploration activities in California state court, contending that it often approves drilling operations without the proper environmental review required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which harms groundwater as well as the climate.
BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota federal magistrate judge on Feb. 22 recommended granting summary judgment to the Department of the Interior (DOI) and an energy development company on an Indian tribe’s claims that the federal government acted arbitrarily in issuing permits for a hydraulic fracturing drilling project.
PHILADELPHIA — Two Pennsylvania state senators and the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Caucus on Feb. 23 filed a brief in a Pennsylvania federal court contending that an environmental group should not be permitted to intervene as a defendant in the legislators’ hydraulic fracturing lawsuit related to the moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River Basin (DRB) because the group lacks “a protectable legal interest sufficient to warrant intervention.”
TRENTON, N.J. — The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) on Feb. 25 voted 4-0, with one abstention, to prohibit hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River Basin.
BISMARCK, N.D. — A hydraulic fracturing company on Feb. 23 sued the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) in North Dakota federal court asking it to order the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to approve 50 pending applications for permits to drill and contending that the DOI’s failure to process the applications is a violation of the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA) (Continental Resources Inc. v. Scott De La Vega, et al., No. 21-34, D. N.D.).
HOUSTON — A group of investors on Feb. 23 filed a putative class action for securities fraud in Texas federal court contending that an energy company involved in hydraulic fracturing exploration made materially false statements about its financial health and the viability of a shale play in the Permian Basin of Texas.
PHILADELPHIA — An environmental advocacy group on Feb. 12 moved in Pennsylvania federal court seeking to intervene as a defendant in a hydraulic fracturing lawsuit to oppose a lawsuit by state senators who argue that the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) lacks the authority to institute a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River Basin (DRB). The group says it needs to “defend the validity” of the DRBC’s authority.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Two California state senators on Feb. 16 introduced legislation that would halt the renewal of permits for hydraulic fracturing beginning in 2022 and would prohibit fracking in its entirety starting in 2027.
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A nonprofit research organization on Feb. 11 released a report in which it said that of the 22 major gas-producing counties in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia (the Appalachian counties), only one met or exceeded national performance for prosperity in connection with the boon that was promised by those who predicted that hydraulic fracturing would bring jobs and income to those regions.