Mealey's Fracking

  • September 20, 2023

    Panel Says Federal Court Has Jurisdiction Over Fracking Royalty Dispute

    DENVER — A panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 19 affirmed a lower court ruling that denied a motion to remand a class action for oil and gas royalties related to hydraulic fracturing to state court, ruling that the lower court has jurisdiction due to the amount in controversy in the litigation, which the panel said was “roughly $35.4 million.”

  • September 19, 2023

    Mineral Rights Owners Say Dismissal Of Royalty Claim Is Unwarranted

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mineral rights owners on Sept. 18 filed a brief in Ohio federal court contending that it should not dismiss their complaint against a hydraulic fracturing operator because their declaratory judgment claim is distinct from their breach of contract claim with regard to their allegations that the company underpaid royalties.

  • September 19, 2023

    Group Says Long Beach Drilling Plan Should Be Halted Pending Environmental Review

    LOS ANGELES — The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) sued the city of Long Beach, Calif., its city council and the state lands commission in state court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to “consider, analyze, and publicly disclose the environmental impacts” related to the city’s plan to conduct drilling activities, including hydraulic fracturing, on four artificial islands designed to mask active oil and gas drilling operations.

  • September 19, 2023

    10 Congressional Members Say DOI Improperly Altered Area For Fracking Lease Sale

    LAKE CHARLES, La. — Ten members of the Congress have filed an amicus curiae brief in Louisiana federal court supporting Louisiana in its lawsuit for a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) based on allegations that the agency violated federal law when it removed millions of acres from an oil and gas lease sale and imposed “additional and burdensome vessel-travel restrictions on the remaining acreage.”

  • September 18, 2023

    Government Urges High Court To Uphold ‘Bedrock Principle’ Of Chevron Deference

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. secretary of Commerce, two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively, the government) urge the U.S. Supreme Court in a Sept. 15 brief to not overrule the doctrine of Chevron deference in a challenge to fishery regulations that were upheld by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, writing that doing so could “cause disruption” to complex federal regulatory schemes.

  • September 08, 2023

    Panel:  Fracking Operator Holds Mineral Rights Due To Expiration Of Previous Lease

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — An appellate panel in Pennsylvania has affirmed a lower court’s ruling and held that a hydraulic fracturing operator holds the mineral rights to a parcel of property because the previous lease held by landowners expired.

  • September 08, 2023

    Judge:  Mineral Rights Owners’ Claims Against Fracking Operator Are Valid

    WHEELING, W.Va. — A federal judge in West Virginia has denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit involving mineral rights interests for hydraulic fracturing, ruling that at this stage of the litigation the plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that their tort actions arise independent of the lease agreement between themselves and an energy company they say has engaged in “indefensible” drilling practices that have diminished the plaintiffs’ royalty payments.

  • September 08, 2023

    Pennsylvania Bill Would Define Fracking Fluids, Produced Waters As Hazardous Waste

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania state senator has introduced a bill that would define drilling fluids, produced waters and other wastes associated with hydraulic fracturing as hazardous waste.

  • September 08, 2023

    Panel Says Trade Group’s Challenge To Fracking Royalty Valuation Rule Fails

    DENVER — A panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court and upheld a royalty valuation rule related to hydraulic fracturing production of oil and gas that was implemented by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) in 2016, ruling that the American Petroleum Institute (API) failed to show that the DOI violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it enacted the rule.

  • September 08, 2023

    Energy Company Seeks Damages For Wrongfully Transferred Fracking Royalty Interests

    HOUSTON — An energy company has sued in Texas state court, arguing that the oil and gas interests a man claims to have in the Eagle Ford Shale play were wrongfully transferred to him without the company’s knowledge and contending that the man knew that the assets were fraudulently conveyed to him.

  • September 07, 2023

    Agency Cancels Arctic Fracking Leases, Proposes Rules For Future Development

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced Sept. 6 that it is canceling oil and gas leases issued by the Trump administration in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and proposed new regulations for the National Petroleum Reserve-A (NPR-A) to protect 13 million acres of Special Areas in the reserve.  The new regulations withdraw roughly 2.8 million acres of the Beaufort Sea from parcels available for fracking, which the DOI said ensures that the entire U.S. Arctic Ocean is off limits to oil and gas leasing.

  • September 07, 2023

    Study: Radioactive Material Found Downstream Of Fracking Waste Facilities

    NEW YORK — A study scheduled to be published in the upcoming issue of the journal “Ecological Indicators,” made available online on Sept. 6, finds that records related to surface water and stream sediments near wastewater facilities that accept hydraulic fracturing waste are “conflicting and inadequate” in light of a discovery that radium was enriched in sediments that are downstream from waste facilities.

  • September 06, 2023

    Landowner Says Agency Failed To Act Regarding PFAS Pollution From Fracking

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A landowner who contends that a state agency failed to act in response to contamination of his water supply from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) used in hydraulic fracturing operations has filed a brief with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) arguing that it should deny the agency’s motion to dismiss the case on grounds that the case is within the EHB’s jurisdiction.

  • September 06, 2023

    Abandoned Wells Case Fails, Constitutes Collateral Attack, Fracking Operator Says

    WHEELING, W.Va. — A hydraulic fracturing operator has filed an answer in West Virginia federal court denying all class action allegations brought by landowners in an abandoned wells dispute and asserting affirmative defenses that the plaintiffs’ claims are bared because they constitute “an improper collateral attack” because a state agency’s order establishes that the fracking company is not obligated to plug the wells in question.

  • September 06, 2023

    Fracking Company To Relinquish Lease At Center Of Dispute With Federal Agency

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 5 entered an order approving the joint motion of a hydraulic fracturing company and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) for an abeyance pending approval of a settlement agreement in a long-running dispute over a lease the fracking company has agreed to surrender.

  • September 05, 2023

    Landowners Say Lower Court ‘Ignored’ Evidence Related To Fracking Royalty Claims

    PHILADELPHIA — Landowners who claim that hydraulic fracturing companies have underpaid royalties filed a reply brief in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that a lower court erred when it “ignored, refused to consider, or dismissed the substantial record evidence” related to their claims.

  • September 05, 2023

    Alaska: Groups Have Not Shown Injury, Lack Standing To Oppose Willow Project

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska filed a brief in federal court in two related cases over an oil and gas development plan in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska known as the Willow Project, arguing that the environmental advocacy groups opposed to the project lack standing to bring their claims because they have not shown that they suffered an injury in fact.

  • September 01, 2023

    Pipeline Company: Permit Appeal Belongs In 3rd Circuit

    PHILADELPHIA — A pipeline company has filed its opening brief in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing it should reverse a lower court’s decision and remand the case with instructions to issue a preliminary injunction enjoining the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) from considering an appeal of a permit to construct a gas pipeline expansion because permit appeals should be heard in federal appellate courts pursuant to the Natural Gas Act (NGA).

  • August 29, 2023

    Study:  Children Living Near Fracking Wells Have Greater Chance Of Getting Cancer

    PITTSBURGH — The University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health published a study that found that children who lived within one mile of a hydraulic fracturing well had “approximately 5 to 7 times the chance of developing lymphoma,” a relatively rare type of cancer, as compared to children who lived in a place with no wells within five miles.

  • August 18, 2023

    Energy Company Says Mineral Rights Owner Failed To Pay For Well Services

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — An energy company has filed an amended complaint against a mineral rights company in Ohio federal court contending that it breached the contract between the parties when it failed to pay for the energy company’s services in operating oil and gas wells.

  • August 16, 2023

    Insurer: Insured Vs. Insured Exclusion Bars D&O Coverage For Crude Oil Entities

    DENVER — An insurer filed an amended complaint in a Colorado federal court seeking a declaration that it owes no directors and officers liability coverage for underlying indemnification demands and counterclaims that directors and officers brought against their former employers and its related entities that operate a crude oil purchasing business, arguing that the business and management indemnity policy’s insured versus insured exclusion barred coverage.

  • August 15, 2023

    Public Interest Law Group Focused On Youth Files Brief Opposing Willow Project

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A nonprofit public interest law group filed an amicus curiae brief in Alaska federal court in two separate-but-related cases related to an oil and gas development plan in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska known as the Willow Project, arguing that the additional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the project will cause “further harm and endangerment to Youth.”

  • August 15, 2023

    Utah, Counties Appeal Dismissal Of Case Against Biden’s National Monuments Decision

    SALT LAKE CITY — Utah and two counties on Aug. 14 filed a notice of appeal stating that they are appealing to the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals a decision by a Utah federal judge which dismissed their case against the Biden administration for its decision to reinstate the dimensions of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

  • August 15, 2023

    Agency Asserts Authority To Require Fracking Company To Obtain Drilling Permit

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other defendants filed a response brief in Wyoming federal court arguing that the BLM acted within the scope of its authority in deciding that an oil company needs to submit a federal application for a permit to drill (APD) before the agency would allow it to extract mineral from federal land.

  • August 14, 2023

    4th Circuit Dismisses Pipeline Challenge, Bemoaning Power Of ‘Legislative Fiat’

    RICHMOND, Va. — A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 11 granted the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) motion to dismiss petitions for review by environmental groups of the approval and development of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), ruling that Congress has removed the Circuit Court’s jurisdiction through the passage of Section 324 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (FRA).  One judge in a concurrence called Section 324 “a blueprint for the construction of a natural gas pipeline by legislative fiat.”