SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California appellate panel on Oct. 12 affirmed a lower court ruling and held that state law preempts a local ordinance passed by Monterey County that prohibits drilling new oil and gas wells and reinjecting produced water back into the ground.
PHILADELPHIA — An order of Roman Catholic women on Oct. 13 filed a notice of appeal in Pennsylvania federal court, indicating that they will take their opposition to a hydraulic fracturing pipeline to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — On Sept. 27, energy companies filed a reply brief in Wyoming federal court contending that it should reconsider its decision to quash their subpoenas against a nonparty oil and gas company in an antitrust lawsuit pertaining to the monopolization of mineral rights related to hydraulic fracturing in local shale plays, arguing that the court’s ruling was “clearly erroneous” because the magistrate judge wrongly held that the defendants do not need a subpoena because they can obtain the information they seek from other sources.
DENVER — A federal judge in Colorado on Sept. 28 remanded to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) a hydraulic fracturing lease dispute in which environmental groups argue that the agency violated federal law when it approved leases on certain federal lands because the BLM relied on environmental assessment documents that were outdated.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Businesses that are intervenors in a federal hydraulic fracturing lease dispute between an energy trade group and the Biden administration on Oct. 5 filed a brief in Wyoming federal court contending that the state of Wyoming’s challenge to a “fictitious” national “moratorium” is barred by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — On Oct. 5, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the findings of a grand jury that concluded that Sunoco Pipeline LP “criminally failed to properly report and address the environmental hazards created by its operations during the entirety” of the project to build the Mariner East 2 Pipeline (ME2), which would carry hydraulically fractured gas across Pennsylvania to refineries in Marcus Hook, Pa.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Two Native American tribes on Oct. 1 filed a brief in Wyoming federal court arguing that an energy company failed to sufficiently allege that an arbitration panel exceeded its authority or manifestly disregarded the law when it ruled that the company’s preferential right to hydraulic fracturing leases is not an absolute right.
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.