PHILADELPHIA — Three Pennsylvania state senators on June 11 filed a notice of appeal in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal opposing a district court’s ruling that they do not have the right to intervene in a lawsuit over hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River Basin (DRB) because they provided no evidence that they were parties to the litigation (Wayne Land and Mineral Group LLC v. Delaware River Basin Commission, No. 19-2354, 3rd Cir.).
WOODSFIELD, Ohio — An Ohio appellate panel on June 19 ruled that a hydraulic fracturing unitization order issued by the Ohio Division of Oil and Gas Resources (DOGR) does not constitute a breach of contract and is not an unconstitutional taking of property (Jeffrey Paczewski, et al. v. Antero Resources Corporation, et al., No. 18-MO-0016, Ohio App., 7th Dist., Monroe Co., 2019 Ohio 2641).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A woman filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court on July 3, contending that a circuit court exceeded limits on federal power when it granted a company immediate possession of property in a condemnation proceeding under federal law that pertains to the construction of gas pipelines (Karolyn Givens, et al. v. Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, No. 19054, U.S. Sup.).
PITTSBURGH — Cambridge Retirement System (CRS) on June 25 filed a federal securities class action in Pennsylvania federal court against a hydraulic fracturing company and some of its executives, contending that they violated the Securities Exchange Act (SEA) and Securities Exchange Commission regulations (Cambridge Retirement System v. EQT Corporation, et al., No. 19-754, W.D. Pa.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A clerk in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 5 issued an order indicating that a lawsuit regarding offshore hydraulic fracturing was not selected for mediation, as environmental groups and the Trump administration contest a district court’s previous ruling that approved a permanent injunction against well stimulation treatments (WST) until the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) consults with a federal agency and completes a process mandated under federal law (Environmental Defense Center, et al. v. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, et al., No. 16-8418, C.D. Calif.).
HOUSTON — Two hydraulic fracturing companies on July 8 filed a complaint in Texas federal court seeking declaratory judgment that they have not infringed a patent for a tool used in well casings in response to a cease-and-desist letter sent to the companies from the designer of a device that is similar to the tool in question (Exacta Frac Energy Services Inc., et al. v. Paul Bernard Lee, No. 19-2459, S.D. Texas).
HOUSTON — A hydraulic fracturing well services company on July 3 sued two other well services companies in Texas federal court, alleging that they knowingly infringe on patents related to a fracking fluid pumping system (U.S. Well Services Inc. v. TOPS Well Services LLC, et al., No. 19-225, S.D. Texas).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 5 filed a brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that the court should deny a Native American tribal preservation group’s motion seeking to intervene in the agency’s decision to allow the construction of a pipeline to carry hydraulically fractured gas across tribal lands because the tribe was given the opportunity to consult with FERC during the permit process and failed to do so (Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, No. 19-1009, D.C. Cir.).
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A federal judge in New Mexico on July 1 denied an energy company’s motion to reconsider the judge’s previous ruling regarding the company’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit over the sale of oil and gas mineral interests, ruling that the energy company did not “convince” the district court that dismissal was proper. The judge also said that dismissal was not warranted because there were various possible interpretations of the sale agreement (Joshi Technolgies International Inc. v. Chi Energy Inc., No. 15-467, D. N.M., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109602).
DENVER — A panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 24 denied a petition for rehearing filed by environmental groups that contended that the court should vacate the environmental assessments (EAs) related to the Trump administration’s approval of hydraulic fracturing permits. The panel also denied the groups’ motion to provide supplemental information pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, et al. v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 18-2089, 10th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A pipeline company and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) each filed petitions for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court on June 25, contending that the USFS has the authority under federal law to grant rights-of-way for the construction of a pipeline that would carry hydraulically fractured gas to Virginia and North Carolina (Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association, et al., No. 18A1181, and United States Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association, et al., No. 18A1182, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An oilfield services company on June 20 filed a principal and response brief with the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in which it again maintained that appellate jurisdiction is lacking over a patent owner’s challenge of a Texas federal judge’s claim construction and stipulated final judgment (EnerPol LLC v. Schlumberger Technology Corp., Nos. 2019-1079, -1120, Fed. Cir.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania appellate panel on June 26 re-affirmed its prior decision that a lower court did not err when it rejected a challenge to a local hydraulic fracturing ordinance brought by residents and environmental groups that opposed it on grounds that it could lead to the contamination of drinking water (Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al. v. Middlesex Township Zoning Hearing Board v. R.E. Gas Development LLC, No. 2609 CD 2015, Pa. Cmwlth., 2019 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 570).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Native American tribal groups and conservationists on June 21 filed a brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals contending that their appeal of the Trump administration’s decision to reinstate hydraulic fracturing leases on tribal land in Montana is not moot, as the administration has suggested (W.A. Moncrief, Jr. v. United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 18-5340, D.C. Cir.).
DENVER — A panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 21 affirmed a district court’s ruling and refused to certify a question to the Oklahoma Supreme Court regarding residents’ claims that they could recover premiums they had to pay for earthquake insurance as a result of hydraulic fracturing activity (Matt Meier, et al. v. Chesapeake Operating LLC, et al., No. 18-6152, 10th Cir.).
DENVER — Environmental groups on June 20 filed a petition for rehearing in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, contending that the court should vacate the environmental assessments (EAs) related to the Trump administration’s approval of hydraulic fracturing permits and allow the groups to provide supplemental information pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, et al. v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 18-2089, 10th Cir.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Hollywood actors, state legislators, environmental groups and residents on June 17 sent a joint letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf calling on him to order the state Department of Health to investigate cancers that have been diagnosed in all counties where hydraulic fracturing operations are conducted.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two federal legislators on June 17 announced that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) will open an investigation into whether the Trump administration violated “longstanding prohibitions” against using appropriated funds for hydraulic fracturing leasing activities within the historic boundariesthe Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a hydraulic fracturing industry trade group on June 12 filed separate amicus curiae briefs in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, each contending that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) cancellation of a fracking lease issued to Solenex LLC was “arbitrary and capricious” (Solenex LLC v. David Bernhardt, et al., No. 18-5345, D.C. Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The attorneys general for the states of California and New Mexico on June 7 moved in California federal court for summary judgment declaring that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision to rescind the 2016 Waste Prevention Rule that pertains to methane flaring by hydraulic fracturing operationswas “unlawful.” The plaintiffs argue that the court should vacate the decision because methane flaring can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that cause and worsen respiratory problems (California, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 18-5712, N.D. Calif.).