WASHINGTON, D.C. — A hydraulic fracturing pipeline company on Oct. 4 filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a stay of a circuit court’s ruling that vacated an order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that had granted the company a certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing it to build the pipeline.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4 refused to hear an oil company’s petition in which it contends that the Delaware Supreme Court “broke from precedent” and misapplied the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) when it enjoined the company from pursuing a second arbitration against an energy company in the parties’ dispute over a gas terminal.
PRESCOTT, Ariz. — On a natural gas company’s motion to enforce judgment for payroll costs incurred to remediate numerous uranium mine sites on tribal land, an Arizona federal judge on Sept. 22 agreed to award more than $65,000 in payroll costs incurred for two experts’ work overseeing the cleanup and advising the company on its obligations to the federal government. However, the judge denied the company’s bid for more than $104,000 in costs due to insufficient documentation of three experts’ activities.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on Sept. 28 announced that it haswithdrawna rule passed in the waning days of the Trump administration for the payment of royalties by hydraulic fracturing companies that operate on federal land, returning to the former method of calculating royalties, which the DOI estimates will result in a $64 million increase in royalty collections.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Patent Trial and Appeal Board should cancel eight claims of a patented hydraulic fracturing system, which relies on automation as a point of novelty, Halliburton Energy Services Inc. asserts in a Sept. 23 petition for inter partes review.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Sept. 27 announced that it has reached a $6.15 million settlement with a hydraulic fracturing company to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by underpaying and underreporting natural gas royalties related to fracking operations on federal land in Wyoming and New Mexico.
NEW YORK — A stockholder on Sept. 15 sued an energy company, its board of directors and a hydraulic fracturing operator in New York federal court contending that they violated federal securities laws when then approved a merger on grounds that the transaction followed “an insufficient process in which the Board failed to conduct a market check for potentially interested third parties.”
PHILADELPHIA — A stockholder on Sept. 16 sued the officers of an energy company in Pennsylvania federal court contending that they violated federal securities laws when they approved a merger between the company and a hydraulic fracturing operator, which depended upon a prospectus that the stockholder says failed to disclose material information.
TORONTO — A study by researchers at the University of Toronto published Sept. 14 found that pregnant women living in an area of “intense” hydraulic fracturing activity have increased levels of exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as compared with the exposure levels for the general Canadian population.
PHILADELPHIA — Plaintiffs in a securities fraud class action on Sept. 17 moved in Pennsylvania federal court seeking class certification of their case against a hydraulic fracturing pipeline company, which investors contend misled them about whether it had lawfully obtained valid permits for construction, when the company actually “exerted undue pressure on regulators and government officials” to secure permits “despite hundreds of known deficiencies” in the permit applications.
ST. LOUIS — Native Americans’ trespass claims against oil companies over a pipeline that runs across a reservation should be stayed, not dismissed, under the primary jurisdiction doctrine to allow the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to rule on the dispute, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Sept. 13 in reversing and remanding.
PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 22 officially remanded to district court the lawsuit between PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC and the state of New Jersey for a stipulated voluntary dismissal related to 42 parcels of land that the company had sought for construction of its pipeline to carry hydraulically fractured gas.
BISMARCK, N.D. — The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on Sept. 20 filed a brief in North Dakota federal court arguing that the decision to postpone the sale of hydraulic fracturing leases to prepare “a more robust” analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is in accord with governing law and, therefore, there is no basis for the state of North Dakota’s attempt to compel the DOI to hold lease sales for public lands.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — On Sept. 16, environmental advocacy groups sued federal agencies alleging that they violated multiple laws when they issued what is referred to as an incidental take regulation (ITR) allowing the Alaska Oil and Gas Association to “take” polar bears and walruses in relation to activities that support oil and gas exploration through hydraulic fracturing in Alaska’s Northern Slope.
NEW YORK — A stockholder on Sept. 17 sued an energy company in New York federal court contending that its officers violated federal securities laws when they approved the sale of the company to a hydraulic fracturing operator and published a “misleading” proxy statement.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Sept. 16 holding, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals left intact a construction by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the disputed claim term “tool” as it is used in a system for plugging a borehole in an oil or gas well, but said the board ran afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act in its final written decision.
PITTSBURGH — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 9 posted a note to the docket in a securities class action against a hydraulic fracturing company indicating that he had denied the company’s motion to stay discovery on grounds that the company did not sufficiently meet its burden of showing good cause for a stay at this time.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — On Sept. 9, landowners filed a brief in Wyoming federal court opposing a nonparty’s motion to quash subpoenas in an antitrust lawsuit pertaining to the monopolization of mineral rights related to hydraulic fracturing in local shale plays, contending that the motion to quash has no merit because the landowner’s counsel has worked with all parties to obtain compliance.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A judge on the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) on Aug. 24 denied a motion to extend the discovery period in a dispute between a hydraulic fracturing company and residents who argue that it is liable for water contamination issues, ruling that the residents failed to comply with the EHB’s rules governing procedural motions.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A group of mineral rights owners on Aug. 25 filed a putative class action against a hydraulic fracturing operator in West Virginia federal court contending that it has breached its agreement by underpaying the royalties it owes them.