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Mealey's Fracking

  • January 18, 2019

    Judge: Federal Agency Took ‘Hard Look’; Nevada Fracking Lease Sales Approved

    RENO, Nev. — A federal judge in Nevada on Jan. 15 granted a motion for summary judgment by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in a case brought by environmental groups that opposed the agency’s sale of leases for hydraulic fracturing on federal land.  The judge said the BLM had conducted a “hard look” required by federal law and, therefore, the groups’ case lacked merit (Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, et al., No. 17-553, D. Nev.).

  • January 15, 2019

    Fracking Company: Injunction Regarding Offshore Permits Causes ‘Irreparable Harm’

    LOS ANGELES — A hydraulic fracturing operator on Jan. 10 filed a brief in California federal court contending that the district court should allow it to proceed with its application for a permit to conduct fracking operations off the California coast because the injunction that is currently in place will cause the company “irreparable harm” (Environmental Defense Center, et al. v. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, et al., No. 16-8418, C.D. Calif.).

  • January 15, 2019

    Colorado High Court: Agency’s Fracking Rule Refusal Is Consistent With State Law

    DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court on Jan. 14 reversed a lower court’s decision and held that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s (COGCC) decision not to conduct a rulemaking proceeding related to hydraulic fracturing and adopt a rule proposed by residents who want to protect the environment was consistent with the applicable provisions of the state’s oil and gas conservation act (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, et al. v. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, et al., No. 2017SC297, Colo. Sup.).

  • January 14, 2019

    Group: Town’s Decision To Enter Fracking Agreement Was ‘Unlawful And Dangerous’

    BOULDER, Colo. — An environmental group on Dec. 3 sued the town of Erie, Colo., its mayor and its board trustees in state court, contending that they made an “unlawful and dangerous decision” when they approved an operating agreement with a hydraulic fracturing company because it will “result in large-scale oil and gas development negatively affecting multiple residential areas” (Erie Thriving LLC v. Town of Erie, Colorado, et al., No. 2018CV31116, Colo. Dist., Boulder, Co.).

  • January 14, 2019

    10th Circuit Reverses Mineral Rights Case; Company May Be Vicariously Liable

    DENVER — A panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 26 reversed and remanded a case, ruling that a hydraulic fracturing company’s mineral rights were not expanded beyond those in common law despite a clause in a deed that pertained to the land where it sought to drill (Marvin Bay, et al. v. Anadarko E&P Onshore LLC, et al., No. 17-1374, 10th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 36454).

  • January 11, 2019

    Groups Oppose Fracking At Former Nuclear Plant, Seek Grand Jury Documents

    DENVER — Residents, environmental organizations and nuclear workers advocacy groups on Jan. 10 filed a petition in Colorado federal court seeking disclosure of certain documents related to a federal grand jury that was impaneled to investigate alleged criminal actions related to a former nuclear weapons plant that state and federal authorities now contend is safe for recreation and could be used for hydraulic fracturing (In re:  Petition of Alliance of Nuclear Workers Advocacy Groups, et al., No. 19-76, D. Colo.).

  • January 10, 2019

    Groups: High Court Review Needed To Settle Circuit Court Split In Pipeline Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Environmental groups on Jan. 9 filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, contending that a lower court “discarded Pennsylvania’s statutory definition of finality, and instead inserted its own federal standard of finality” when it ruled that federal law preempted the state review process for the construction of a pipeline that would carry hydraulically fractured gas through several counties in the state (Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al. v. Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, et al., No. N/A, U.S. Sup.).

  • January 10, 2019

    State Of Utah Says It Has A Right To File A Brief In National Monument Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The state of Utah on Dec. 31 filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia arguing that it has a right to file a brief in the lawsuit brought by Native American tribes and environmental groups that oppose the Trump administration’s decision to reduce the size of two national monuments, which the plaintiffs say was done to open the land for hydraulic fracturing activities (Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2591, The Wilderness Society, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., No. 17-2587, D. D.C., Hopi Tribe, et al. v. Donald Trump, et al., No. 17-2590, D. D.C. [consolidated]).

  • January 9, 2019

    State Of Wyoming: Fracking Lease Dispute Should Be Sent From Idaho To Wyoming

    BOISE, Idaho — The state of Wyoming on Dec. 21 filed a brief in Idaho federal court contending that the interests of justice “overwhelmingly favor transfer” to Wyoming federal court for a lawsuit filed by environmental groups that have challenged federal hydraulic fracturing leases contending that those leases endanger the greater sage-grouse (Western Watersheds Project, et al. v. Ryan K. Zinke, et al., No. 18-187, D. Idaho).

  • January 9, 2019

    Company: Venezuela Must Pay Arbitration Award For Fracking Investment Seizure

    WILMINGTON, Del. — A plastics manufacturer on Dec. 12 filed a complaint in Delaware federal court seeking to register and enforce a $42,342,379.31 international arbitration award from a judgment it won against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the unlawful expropriation of the company’s investment in Venezuela related to the manufacture of ceramic proppants used in hydraulic fracturing operations (Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Europe v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, et al., No. 18-1963, D. Del.).

  • January 9, 2019

    Fracking Company: Drilling Operation Breached Contract With Information Request

    BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — A hydraulic fracturing company on Dec. 19 sued a drilling company in Kentucky federal court, alleging that it is not entitled to information regarding the fracking company’s expenditures and contracts as a turnkey contractor beyond what was provided in the business agreement the parties entered.  The fracking company also says the drilling company cannot require the disclosure of nonpublic personal information of its investors (Encore Energy Inc. v. Morris Kentucky Wells LLC, No. 18-180, W.D. Ky.).

  • January 9, 2019

    Amicus: Fracking Pipeline Will Result In ‘Substantial Climate Damages’

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Institute for Policy Integrity (IPI) at New York University School of Law on Dec. 28 filed an amicus curiae brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, contending that the PennEast Pipeline Project, which would transport hydraulically fractured gas, will be responsible for greenhouse gas emissions that will result in “substantial climate damages” (Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, No. 18-1128, D.C. Cir.).

  • January 9, 2019

    District Of Columbia Circuit Court Denies Review Of Fracking Pipeline Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 27 denied a petition for review filed by an environmental group that contends that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of the Orion Pipeline Project, which would carry hydraulically fractured gas from Pennsylvania to Mid-Atlantic states, violated federal law (Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, No. 18-1108, D.C. Cir.).

  • January 8, 2019

    No Coverage Owed For Injuries Sustained During Hydrofracking Operations

    BISMARCK, N.D. — A hydrofracking exclusion clearly applies to bar coverage for underlying suits filed by individuals who were injured during hydrofracking operations at an additional insured’s site because the injuries clearly arose out of hydrofracking operations, a North Dakota federal judge said Jan. 3 (Great West Casualty Co. v. XTO Energy Inc. et al., No. 16-387, D. N.D., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 797).

  • January 7, 2019

    U.S. Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Fracking Lease Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 7 denied certiorari to a group of Ohio residents who contended that their claim under the False Claims Act (FCA) against the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) was wrongly dismissed because the MWCD was aware that the leases in question violated an obligation to the United States (United States, ex rel. Leatra Harper, et al. v. Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, No. 18-418, U.S. Sup.).

  • January 3, 2019

    10th Circuit Denies Rehearing In Lease Dispute Against Trump Administration

    DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 2 issued an order refusing to hear the appeal filed by a landowner seeking rehearing of its ruling in which a panel ruled he could not establish entitlement to equitable tolling because he had not taken any action to pursue his rights regarding a hydraulic fracturing lease dispute before filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).  The one-sentence order did not elaborate on the reason for the panel’s denial (Merrill Chance v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 17-5057, 10th Cir.).

  • January 2, 2019

    Judge: Statute Of Limitations Has Run On Groundwater Case Against Fracking Company

    WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Dec. 27 dismissed a private nuisance case brought by residents against a hydraulic fracturing company for contaminating their groundwater, ruling that the statute of limitations had run on the claim (Sheila Russell, et al. v. Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, et al., No. 14-148, M.D. Pa.).

  • December 31, 2018

    Leaseholder Says Fracking Contract Allows It To Not Participate In Drilling Wells

    OKLAHOMA CITY — An energy company sued a hydraulic fracturing operator in Oklahoma federal court on Dec. 5, contending that it breached a business agreement between the parties because the company has the right to not participate in paying the costs of drilling fracking wells (Leeman Energy Corporation v. Oil Producers Inc. of Kansas, No. 18-1181, W.D. Okla.).

  • December 21, 2018

    Pennsylvania District Attorney Opens Criminal Probe Into Pipeline’s Construction

    WEST CHESTER, Pa. — The district attorney for Chester County, Pa., on Dec. 19 opened a criminal investigation into the construction of the Mariner East 1, 2 and 2X pipelines, which will transport hydraulically fractured oil and gas from shale formations in Pennsylvania to refineries in Marcus Hook, Pa.

  • December 20, 2018

    Federal Approval Pipeline To Carry Fracked Gas Was ‘Arbitrary,’ Groups Say

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The city of Oberlin, Ohio, on Dec. 17 filed a brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decision, which granted a permit for a pipeline to carry hydraulically fractured gas through Ohio and Michigan, was “arbitrary, capricious and unsupported by substantial evidence” (City of Oberlin, Ohio, et al. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, No. 18-1248, D.C. Cir.).