ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio — A divided Ohio appellate panel has affirmed a summary judgment ruling for mineral rights holders on their claims of bad faith trespass and conversion against a hydraulic fracturing operator, but it remanded the case to the trial court for a recalculation of a $40,129,357.62 award for damages related to the ownership of the surface rights in question.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Biden administration filed a brief in Alaska federal court contending that it should dismiss a case filed by groups that advocate for hydraulic fracturing activity in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) because the groups “do not approach the steep burden required to compel agency action,” nor do they demonstrate that the administration’s moratorium on federal lease sales in that region violated federal law.
SCRANTON, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania dismissed a royalty dispute brought by landowners against hydraulic fracturing companies, ruling that the landowners’ breach of contract claims pertaining to the calculation of royalties fail based on language in a clause of the contract.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The state of Louisiana has filed a brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by conducting hydraulic fracturing lease sales.
WHEELING, W.Va. — Landowners who sued a hydraulic fracturing operator have filed a brief in West Virginia federal court contending that the operator’s motion to disqualify the testimony of its former employee Bryant “Wayne” Bowman II, who plans to testify for the plaintiffs, “relies on rhetoric and conjecture rather than applying the relevant law to the facts.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Energy trade groups that are intervenors in a hydraulic fracturing permit dispute have asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to sever the claims challenging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) approval of applications for permits to drill (APDs) in Wyoming and transfer them to federal court in that state.
TILDEN, Texas — A jury in Texas state court has awarded $41,920,180 to two hydraulic fracturing operators for damages from an injection well operated by a pipeline company and its affiliate. The jury found that the pipeline company interfered with the fracking operators’ ability to drill for oil by injecting hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas into the well, which then contaminated the rock formation.
LOS ANGELES — An energy company on Feb. 6 sued the city of Los Angeles in California federal court contending that it is liable for the unconstitutional taking of property related to its oil and gas leases without just compensation and arguing that the city has infringed on the company’s right to free speech.
AUSTIN, Texas — Two oil and gas interest holders who are challenging a $71.61 million jury award for Exxon Mobil Corp. have filed a reply brief in the Texas Supreme Court arguing that the court should grant their petition to clarify that settlements for which indemnity is sought must be allocated between indemnified and nonindemnified matters.
WHEELING, W.Va. — Landowners who are suing a hydraulic fracturing operator on Feb. 1 filed a brief in West Virginia federal court contending that “there is no valid reason” to grant the operator’s motion to disqualify the plaintiffs’ counsel, nor is there a reason to issue a protective order to stop discovery of non-public information while the motion to disqualify is pending.
DENVER — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did not predetermine the results of a supplemental environmental analysis for hydraulic fracturing permits but violated federal law by not thoroughly examining the impact the permit approvals have on certain emissions, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 1 in a partial win for a Native American association and environmental groups.
ST. LOUIS — A dispute between a North Dakota Indian tribe and the federal government over a hydraulic fracturing project on tribal land should be remanded to decide whether the project poses enough of a threat to tribal health and welfare that the tribe retains its inherent sovereign power to regulate it, the tribe tells the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a reply brief.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Environmental groups have filed a petition in New Mexico federal court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), contending that they violated federal laws when they authorized 32 oil and gas leases covering more than 5,942 acres in New Mexico that would become available for hydraulic fracturing.
SALT LAKE CITY — The state of Utah and two municipalities have filed an amended complaint in their lawsuit against the Biden administration over the dimensions of two national monuments, the boundaries of which have potential implications for hydraulic fracturing and have been disputed across multiple presidential administrations. The plaintiffs argue that the Antiquities Act “never contemplates ‘monuments’ double the size of Delaware.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A hydraulic fracturing trade group and its affiliates have filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that a lower court interpreted the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) in a way that imposes redundant obligations on federal agencies and private permittees, which they say is “plainly wrong.”
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Two energy industry trade groups have filed a petition in Wyoming federal court arguing that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has violated the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA) because it failed to conduct any lease sales for hydraulic fracturing in the fourth quarter of 2022.
LOS ANGELES — A group representing mineral rights royalty owners has sued the city of Los Angeles in California state court seeking a writ of mandamus compelling the city to vacate and rescind an ordinance prohibiting new oil and gas extraction, arguing that the rule is preempted by state law.
AUSTIN, Texas — Exxon Mobil Corp. has filed a response brief in Texas Supreme Court contending that a lower court’s ruling that affirmed a $71.61 million jury award for Exxon related to a hydraulic fracturing lease dispute is “correct in all relevant aspects,” and it says the appellate arguments challenging it are “insubstantial.”
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania granted a hydraulic fracturing company’s motion for summary judgment in a dispute over a clause in a drilling contract, ruling that cross-unit drilling does not violate state law.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and an environmental advocacy group on Jan. 25 filed a joint motion in District of Columbia federal court dismissing a lawsuit that challenged the DOI’s decision to offer 32 oil and gas leases for hydraulic fracturing based on a stipulated settlement agreement that calls for additional analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as well as consideration of something referred to as a “no leasing” alternative.