DENVER — Environmental groups on May 10 sued the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and other agencies in Colorado federal court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for alleged violations of federal law in connection with their decisions to approve hydraulic fracturing plans in an area that includes portions of three national forests.
NEW ORLEANS — The American Petroleum Institute (API) sued Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in Louisiana federal court contending that a rule issued by the NMFS regarding geophysical surveys for oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico violates federal law and should be remanded.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The clerk of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 28 ordered the dismissal of an appeal brought by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a hydraulic fracturing trade group, which had sought to overturn a lower court’s ruling that ordered the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to remand its approval of fracking leases to correct deficiencies in the environmental assessment that concluded that the lease sale complied with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
EDINBURG, Texas — A Texas state appellate court panel on May 4 partially granted and partially denied discovery requests in a lawsuit brought by workers on a hydraulic fracturing rig who contend that the company failed to adequately test equipment that failed and caused numerous injuries. The panel held that while some document requests were “overly broad,” other requests for information about previous injuries on the well site were permitted.
SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on May 4 moved in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for an order vacating environmental groups’ challenge to the Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12), which pertains to the construction of pipelines to carry hydraulically fractured oil and gas, on grounds the challenge is “prudentially moot” because President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has revoked a separate permit that allowed the pipeline to be constructed in the first place.
PHILADELPHIA — The Republican Caucus of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on May 4 filed a brief in Pennsylvania federal court supporting its motion for leave to appear as amicus curiae in a lawsuit filed by other Pennsylvania Republican legislators who oppose the hydraulic fracturing moratorium instituted in the Delaware River Basin (DRB).
CLINTON, Ark. — A group of hydraulic fracturing royalty owners on April 23 filed a class action lawsuit in Arkansas state court against a fracking operator contending that it has been deducting “substantial, unauthorized costs” from their monthly royalty checks in violation of their lease contracts.
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Environmental groups on May 3 sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its commanding general in Montana federal court, contending that the Corps violated federal laws, including the Clean Water Act (CWA), when it issued a permit for pipeline projects to carry hydraulically fractured oil and gas “without adequately assessing its significant direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental effects.”
LANSING, Mich. — A Native American tribe filed a petition April 26 with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) seeking a hearing on and revocation of a permit allowing construction of a tunnel underneath the lakes for a replacement oil and natural gas pipeline.
MONROE, La. — A federal judge in Louisiana on April 28 set a deadline for when President Joseph R. Biden Jr. must respond to a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by multiple states that have sued the president contending that he violated federal law when he signed an executive order halting new hydraulic fracturing leases.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 3 refused to hear a case in which a trust argued that a Pennsylvania state court violated the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution when it ruled that a 1908 tax sale extinguished the trust’s subsurface rights to oil and gas deposits, which the state then sold to a hydraulic fracturing company.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A hydraulic fracturing company on April 27 filed a brief in Alaska federal court contending that a judge’s recent remand order should direct the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to “address the specific error” in the NMFS’s decision that allowing tug boats to haul fracking rigs in the Cook Inlet would not constitute “take” by harassment to beluga whales. The company also contends the remand order should not involve vacatur.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate voted 52-42 to pass Senate Joint Resolution 14, which reverses the decision the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made in the waning days of the Trump administration that rescinded the 2016 Methane Waste Prevention Rule.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A hydraulic fracturing pipeline company and the state of New Jersey on April 28 debated before the U.S. Supreme Court whether states have sovereign immunity to oppose a private party’s use of eminent domain authority as delegated by a federal agency.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On April 23, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he has directed the state’s energy management agency to stop granting permits for hydraulic fracturing by January 2024, and he asked a separate agency to “analyze pathways to phase out oil extraction across the state by no later than 2045.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An oil company in an April 15 petition for a writ of certiorari urges the U.S. Supreme Court to review a Delaware Supreme Court decision enjoining it from pursuing a second arbitration in a gas terminal dispute, writing that the court broke from precedent requiring courts to delegate issues of arbitrability to arbitrators and misapplied the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) by enjoining claims that it deemed a “collateral attack.”
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A couple that holds a royalty lease agreement with a fracking operator sued the company on April 21 in Arkansas state court contending that it is violating the language of the royalty contract and withholding money.
WEST CHESTER, Pa. — The district attorney for a county in Pennsylvania reached an agreement with a hydraulic fracturing pipeline company in which it has consented to hire an environmental auditor and strictly adhere to federal and state environmental laws or risk the imposition of financial penalties related to its construction of three pipelines in the state, a source told Mealey Publications April 23.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on April 20 fined a hydraulic fracturing company $2 million for tampering with systems installed on the company’s vehicles that were designed to measure emissions pollution.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Numerous environmental conservation groups on April 19 moved in Wyoming federal court to intervene in a lawsuit brought by a hydraulic fracturing industry trade group seeking review of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s decision to suspend the federal oil and gas leasing program. The groups argue that the relief the industry seeks would “seriously impair” the conservation groups’ ability to protect their interests in safeguarding public health, cultural resources, air and water quality, wildlife and the climate.