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Mealey's Fracking

  • July 20, 2018

    Judge Refuses To Transfer Methane Rule Cases From California To Wyoming

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on July 17 denied a motion to transfer to Wyoming two consolidated cases challenging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) repeal of the hydraulic fracturing methane rule, but allowed fracking industry groups to intervene, concluding that even though the lawsuits could have been filed in Wyoming, the balance of the transfer factors weighs against moving the cases there (Sierra Club, et al. v. Ryan Zinke, et al., No. 18-524, California v. United States Bureau of Land Management, et al., No. 18-521, N.D. Calif.).

  • July 19, 2018

    Panel Reverses: Limitations On Use Of Oil, Gas Royalties ‘Too Narrow’

    LOS ANGELES — A panel of the California Court of Appeal for the Second District on July 17 reversed and remanded an oil and gas royalties dispute, finding that the trial court’s interpretation of a phrase in an agreement between the parties that limited the use of royalty money for public projects was “too narrow” (Prop “A” Protective Association v. Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority, Nos. B272381, B281923, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 1; 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4826).

  • July 17, 2018

    New Mexico Engineer Faces Mandamus Action For Fracking Groundwater Permits

    SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico’s Public Lands Commissioner on June 21 asked a state court to issue an alternative writ of mandamus requiring the state engineer to explain why he is issuing multiple permits for the temporary use of underground public waters for oil and gas fracking (State of New Mexico, ex rel. Aubrey Dunn, et al. v. Tom Blaine, et al., No. D-101-CV-2018-01830, N.M. Dist., Santa Fe Co.).

  • July 9, 2018

    Fracking Group May Not Intervene In Lawsuit, Environmental Groups Say

    BOISE, Idaho — Environmental groups that have sued the Trump administration contending that it has taken “unlawful actions to lease and develop oil and gas resources on public lands” that will adversely impact essential habitats and that violate “bedrock environmental laws” filed a brief in Idaho federal court on July 6 contending that a hydraulic fracturing industry group should not be allowed to intervene in the case (Western Watersheds Project, et al. v. Ryan K. Zinke, et al., No. 18-187, D. Idaho).

  • July 9, 2018

    Couple: Due Process Claim Over Fracking Ban ‘Plausible,’ Case Wrongly Dismissed

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A landowner couple on June 30 moved in New York federal court to vacate the court’s ruling that granted summary judgment to the state of New York and its agencies on the couple’s claim that a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing violates the U.S. Constitution by preventing the couple from extracting their natural resources on their property (David R. Morabito, et al. v. New York, et al., No. 17-6853, W.D. N.Y.).

  • July 9, 2018

    Judge: Underlying Ruling Not Binding On Insurer’s Duty To Defend Fracking Company

    SAN ANTONIO — A federal judge in Texas on June 28 ruled that an underlying judgment in a hydraulic fracturing case was not binding and admissible in a coverage dispute between a fracking company and the insurer that held its commercial general liability (CGL) policy (CBX Resources LLC v. Ace American Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-17, W.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110915).

  • July 9, 2018

    Judge: Couple Did Not Show Summary Judgment Is Warranted Against Fracking Company

    CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia on July 5 denied a landowner couple’s motion for summary judgment on its breach of contract claim against a hydraulic fracturing company related to royalty interests, concluding that the couple did not establish whether the pricing formula in the contract provides for a fair market price at the relevant valuation point (Arnold K. Richards, et al. v. EQT Production Company, No. 17-50, N.D. W.Va.; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111821).

  • July 6, 2018

    Group: Agencies Failed To Comply With FOIA Regarding Fracking Lease Documents

    DENVER — An environmental group on June 13 filed a cross-motion in Colorado federal court seeking summary judgment against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for allegedly failing to meet the evidentiary burdens of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with regard to the group’s requests for documents pertaining to compliance with federal laws during an oil and gas lease sale for hydraulic fracturing in March 2017 (Rocky Mountain Wild Inc. v. United States Bureau of Land Management, et al., No. 17-636, D. Colo.).

  • July 6, 2018

    Panel: False Claims Act Case Fails A Second Time In Fracking Lease Dispute

    CINCINNATI — A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 26 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that dismissed a claim brought under the False Claims Act (FCA) related to a dispute over hydraulic fracturing leases, concluding that the plaintiffs failed a second time to adequately plead that the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) was aware that the leases violated an obligation to the United States (United States, ex rel. Leatra Harper, et al. v. Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, No. 17-4098, 6th Cir.; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17387).

  • July 6, 2018

    Judge: Investors’ Case Against Fracking Company For Safety Misstatements Is Valid

    HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas on June 19 ruled that investor plaintiffs who brought a securities class action against a hydraulic fracturing company for alleged misstatements regarding its safety protocols had sufficiently pleaded their case that the company’s statement of safety compliance constituted “an actionable misstatement” that “a reasonable investor would consider important in making an investment decision” (Robert Edgar v. Anadarko Petroleum Corp., et al., No. 17-1372, S.D. Texas).

  • July 5, 2018

    Pennsylvania Agency: $12,500 Fracking Permit Fee Needed To Cover State Costs

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on July 2 proposed increasing the fee for hydraulic fracturing permits by more than 100 percent, which the DEP says is necessary to address the disparity between the income generated by well permit application fees and the cost of administering state law relating to the development of oil and gas resources.

  • July 5, 2018

    3rd Circuit Vacates, Remands Delaware River Basin Fracking Case For Fact-Finding

    PHILADELPHIA — A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 3 vacated and remanded a case brought by a hydraulic fracturing company against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), ruling that a compact that governs fracking in the basin is “ambiguous” as to whether the company’s proposed activity in the basin is subject to the review authority of the DRBC (Wayne Land and Mineral Group LLC v. Delaware River Basin Commission, No. 17-1800, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18132).

  • June 27, 2018

    Judge: Fracking Technology Trade Secret Dispute Belongs In Arbitration

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 22 ruled that a trade secret dispute pertaining to technology used in hydraulic fracturing operations belongs in arbitration due to the wording of a master service agreement signed by the parties (H2O Resources LLC v. Oilfield Tracking Services LLC, No. 187-1164, E.D. Pa.; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104991).

  • June 26, 2018

    Study: Methane From Oil, Gas Activities Causes ‘Radiative Forcing’ In Atmosphere

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The journal Science on June 25 published an article authored by researchers from 13 universities, joined by others from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and environmental groups, which concludes that methane emissions across the supply chain of the oil and gas industry in the United States “results in roughly the same radiative forcing” as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over a 20-year time period.

  • June 22, 2018

    Tribe: Trump Administration’s Fracking Permit Decision Is ‘Unlawful’

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation on June 20 filed a lawsuit in District of Columbia federal court against the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke seeking declaratory relief from the “unlawful decision” by the DOI that invalidated a stay issued by another federal agency with regard to hydraulic fracturing permits (Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation v. The United States Department of the Interior, et al., No. 18-1462, D. D.C.).

  • June 20, 2018

    Government Agency: Fracking Lease Suspensions Could Be Monitored Better

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on June 19 in which it concluded that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) could improve oversight of hydraulic fracturing lease suspensions with better data and monitoring procedures.

  • June 14, 2018

    Pennsylvania Court Denies Rehearing En Banc In Rule- Of-Capture Fracking Case

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Superior Court on June 8 denied a motion for rehearing en banc sought by a hydraulic fracturing company that argued that a Superior Court panel “misapprehended material facts” when it determined that the rule of capture does not preclude a fracking company from liability for trespass where subsurface fractures, fracturing fluid and proppant cross boundary lines and extend into the subsurface estate of an adjoining property for which the operator does not have a mineral lease (Adam Briggs, et al. v. Southwestern Energy Production Company, No. 1351MDA2017, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 632).

  • June 13, 2018

    Pennsylvania Senate Weighs Bill To Compensate Landowners Affected By Fracking Ban

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Senate is considering a bill that would designate the decision to ban hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River Basin (DRB) as an act of eminent domain that entitles landowners in the basin to “appropriate and just compensation” for their lost opportunity to lease their land for drilling.

  • June 11, 2018

    Pawnee Nation Sues Fracking Companies For Earthquakes In Oklahoma

    TULSA, Okla. — The Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma on May 17 sued two hydraulic fracturing companies in Oklahoma federal court, contending that they disposed of wastewater and introduced contaminants into the natural environment that caused “unnatural seismic activity” (Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma v. Eagle Road Oil LLC, et al., No. 18-263, N.D. Okla.).

  • June 11, 2018

    Shareholder Seeks To Enjoin Vote On Merger Of Fracking Proppant Companies

    CLEVELAND — An individual shareholder in a company that produces proppants for hydraulic fracturing operations, which is planning to merge with another proppant producer, on May 18 filed a brief in Ohio federal court seeking an order enjoining the shareholder vote until the companies disclose information that he claims was omitted from documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Melvyn Klein v. Fairmount Santrol Holdings Inc., et al., No. 18-1186, N.D. Ohio).