AUSTIN, Texas — The Sierra Club on Feb. 11 filed a stipulation in Texas federal court in which it voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers related to the construction of a pipeline to carry hydraulically fractured natural gas. The Sierra Club, which had contended that the pipeline would taint the local aquifer, did not elaborate on its reason for dismissing the case.
ST. LOUIS — Researchers at Washington University on Feb. 11 released a report that concludes that the underground presence of halogen radicals is a key to the formation of halogenated organic compounds, which are produced during hydraulic fracturing and are dangerous to human health and the environment.
SAN ANTONIO — An equipment company on Feb. 11 moved in Texas federal court to quash depositions sought by a hydraulic fracturing sand company on grounds that it has not established the necessity of the depositions and that the proposed schedule for conducting them is “simply unworkable.” The equipment company maintains that the entire process is “meant to be nothing more than an undue burden to and annoyance of Defendant.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on Feb. 7 declined a request by two Native American tribes and two environmental groups to stop work on a 338-mile section of replacement pipeline in Minnesota and North Dakota, saying the challengers failed to show that they are likely to succeed on their claims or will be irreparably harmed by having the work continue.
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Jan. 26 vacated an appellate court ruling and held that a group of hydraulic fracturing royalty interest holders still have a continuing interest in mineral leases for land on which a fracking company began operating and, therefore, the interest holders are entitled to payment.
SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Jan. 15 filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that a lower court’s decision should be “reversed in its entirety” regarding Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12), which pertains to the construction of pipelines to carry hydraulically fractured oil and gas. The Army Corps says a district court wrongly vacated NWP 12 and improperly issued an injunction preventing construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Petroleum Institute (API), a hydraulic fracturing trade group, on Jan. 28 filed a notice of appeal in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and joined other industry parties and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in seeking to overturn a district court ruling that ordered the BLM to remand its approval of fracking leases in Wyoming to correct deficiencies in the environmental assessment that concluded that the lease sale complied with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The state of North Dakota on Jan. 12 filed a waiver of response in the U.S. Supreme Court related to a petition filed by residents who say the North Dakota Supreme Court’s ruling that the mineral rights in the expanded bed of the Missouri River do not belong to the state, a decision that affects 96,000 mineral acres worth $2 billion, was in error.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A federal judge in New Mexico on Jan. 12 ruled that a hydraulic fracturing company must provide documents in discovery related to a joint partnership agreement for oil and gas wells that another fracking company damaged, allegedly as a result of performing a well operation incorrectly.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Supreme Court on Jan. 12 granted a nonprofit group that advocates for the rights of livestock owners leave to file an amicus curiae brief in a lawsuit brought by a company that owns land that contends that a hydraulic fracturing operator does not have the right to access certain land to conduct surveys related to potential future drilling locations.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission did not abuse its discretion in refusing to halt construction on a replacement oil pipeline while the agency’s permits for the project are under appeal, a state appeals court panel ruled Feb. 1 in denying a motion for a stay filed by two Indian tribes.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Native American group that advocates for “a balanced Earth” on Feb. 2 moved in Alaska federal court for an injunction pending an appeal of a district court order that denied the group a restraining order to prevent hydraulic fracturing activities in the National Petroleum Reserve on Alaska’s North Slope.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 3 agreed to hear a petition by a hydraulic fracturing pipeline company that seeks reversal of a federal appeals court’s decision that determined that the company does not have all the rights of the federal government with regard to the power of eminent domain.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Feb. 1 asked the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to place in abeyance cases challenging the rescission of the 2016 Methane Waste Prevention Rule pending the agency’s implementation of President Joe Biden’s order to conduct “close scrutiny” of the order, issued by former President Donald Trump, rescinding the original methane rule.
DENVER — A panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 1 ruled that a district court did not abuse its discretion when it held that the state of Colorado and a state oil and gas agency has a compelling interest in allowing hydraulic fracturing companies to target the minerals of nonconsenting mineral owners through a practice referred to as “forced pooling.”
PHILADELPHIA — Two Pennsylvania state senators and the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Caucus on Jan. 11 sued the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) in Pennsylvania federal court, seeking declaratory judgment that the DRBC’s moratorium on the construction and operations of hydraulic fracturing wells violates the Delaware River Basin Compact, which is the exclusive source of the DRBC’s authority.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Jan. 12 denied environmental groups a temporary restraining order they sought against former Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt regarding the sale of oil and gas leases for hydraulic fracturing located in the Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness of Utah, concluding that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) argument that helium, which can also be obtained through fracking, is “a critical resource in short supply globally.”
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A hydraulic fracturing industry trade group on Jan. 27 filed a petition in Wyoming federal court seeking review of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s decision to suspend the federal oil and gas leasing program, saying that it is “an unsupported and unnecessary action that is inconsistent” with the statutory obligations of the secretary of the Interior.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 upheld a federal court order vacating an easement for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), saying the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “acted unlawfully” in approving the easement, but reversed the court’s order shutting down the pipeline.
DENVER — Attorneys arguing before the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals received a kind word from one of the judges at the close of oral arguments on Jan. 20 over the issue of whether an environmental group had been denied due process at a district court as the group opposed a Colorado agency’s decision to allow hydraulic fracturing companies to target the minerals of nonconsenting mineral owners through a practice known as “forced pooling.”