Mealey's Fracking

  • May 24, 2024

    Split Ohio High Court Reverses Ruling For Mineral Holders In Utica Shale Dispute

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A divided Ohio Supreme Court on May 23 reversed and remanded a lower court’s ruling that affirmed a $40 million award to a mineral rights owner in a drilling dispute, saying triable issues of fact remain regarding whether the mineral lease included the Point Pleasant formation as part of the Utica Shale formation.

  • May 23, 2024

    Federal, Local Governments: High Court Review Not Needed In Fracking Railway Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In two separate briefs, the U.S. government, a federal agency and a Colorado municipality argue that the U.S. Supreme Court should deny a petition for review sought by a coalition that challenges a lower court’s ruling that found that the Surface Transportation Board (STB) failed to take a hard look at the risk of wildfire and the impact on groundwater posed by the construction of a proposed rail line in Utah that would carry products related to hydraulic fracturing to and from the shale formation in the Uinta Basin.  In one brief, the municipality argues that the petition “does not meet any of the Court’s criteria for granting certiorari.”

  • May 23, 2024

    Expert Can Testify In Oil, Gas Contract Dispute; Judge Denies Summary Judgment

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A Wyoming chancery court judge found that testimony from an expert retained in an oil and gas contracts dispute is admissible under Wyoming Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. and separately denied a motion for summary judgment.

  • May 21, 2024

    Groups: Court Should Vacate Agencies’ ‘Unlawful’ Approval Of Fracking Permits

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Environmental groups that contend that the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) approval of permits for hydraulic fracturing was “arbitrary and capricious” have filed a reply brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia arguing that the court should grant them summary judgment on their claim and vacate the “unlawful decisions.”

  • May 21, 2024

    Mineral Rights Holders Seek Certification Of Class In Fracking Royalty Dispute

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mineral rights holders have moved in Ohio federal court seeking class certification in their lawsuit alleging that drilling companies breached the royalty agreement among the parties, arguing that “this case arises from the systematic breach of a form contract, making it the paradigmatically appropriate case for class certification.”

  • May 20, 2024

    U.S. High Court Refuses To Hear Landowners’ Challenge To Fracking Pipeline

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 20 for a second time refused to hear a case brought by landowners who oppose the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), which would carry hydraulically fractured gas 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia.  The landowners had contended that the pipeline company took their land for construction of the project against their will.

  • May 16, 2024

    Briefly: 4th Circuit Reverses Ruling Valuing Property In Pipeline Land Dispute

    RICHMOND, Va. — A panel of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a case involving a dispute over a parcel of land sought by a pipeline company, instructing the lower court to reinstate a jury’s $523,327 verdict for the landowners and vacating the court’s order that denied attorney fees.

  • May 15, 2024

    Planned Hearing In Review Of Dissolvable Magnesium Patent Canceled

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Patent Trial and Appeal Board will consider the patentability of dissolvable magnesium alloy technology used in the fracking industry without the benefit of oral argument, canceling a hearing that had been planned for May 31 in a contentious inter partes review (IPR) that has yielded threats of sanctions in connection with an expunged motion and invocation by a patent owner of an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump.

  • May 14, 2024

    Judge Lets Fracking Operator, Utah Intervene In Federal Leasing Dispute

    SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge in Utah has ruled that the state and Anschutz Exploration Corp. (AEC), an oil and gas exploration company, can intervene in a lawsuit brought by an environmental group against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for its decision to sell 145 leases for hydraulic fracturing on approximately 215,325 acres of public lands in Utah, which the group says was done “without fully and adequately analyzing the environmental and public health impacts” of the decision.

  • April 26, 2024

    COMMENTARY: Limits Of Executive Power And The Antiquities Act: Current Litigation

    By Adam Griffin, Frank D. Garrison and Paige Gilliard

  • May 10, 2024

    $6M Fracking Securities Deal Gets Final Approval From Ohio Federal Judge

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on May 9 granted final approval to a $6 million settlement in a securities fraud case pertaining to a hydraulic fracturing company, ruling that the relief that shareholders in the company will receive passes the test for “fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of the settlement.”

  • May 10, 2024

    Agency Says It Has Authority To Require Oil Company To Obtain Fracking Well Permit

    DENVER — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has filed a response brief in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that it “plainly has authority” under the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA) to require a permit for a proposed well, regardless of who owns the affected subsurface, contrary to the argument of an oil company that the BLM did not act within its scope of authority when it denied company’s attempts to drill a traverse well under a split estate.

  • May 09, 2024

    Plaintiffs: Fracking Operator Is Violating Lease With Improper Royalty Deductions

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The trustees of a trust that owns 155.84 acres in Belmont County, Ohio, have sued a hydraulic fracturing company in Ohio federal court contending that it is arbitrarily deducting money from royalties it owes the landowners to cover the company’s expenses in violation of the lease between the parties and in contravention of accepted industry standards.

  • May 08, 2024

    Judge Denies Remand, Says Party Improperly Joined In Fracking Injury Case

    LAREDO, Texas — A federal judge in Texas has denied a man’s attempt to remand his hydraulic fracturing injury lawsuit to Texas state court and denied his request to amend his complaint and seek attorney fees, ruling that a “minor defect” in the removal of the case to federal court does not support remand and that because removal was proper, the request for attorney fees fails.

  • May 08, 2024

    Colorado High Court Says Centerline Presumption Applies In Mineral Rights Dispute

    DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court has partially affirmed and partially reversed a lower court ruling in a dispute over surface and mineral rights, determining that when the “centerline presumption” applies, as it does in the case at hand, a conveyance is presumed to carry title to the centerline of both the surface and mineral estates beneath a dedicated right of way to the owner of land abutting that right of way.

  • May 07, 2024

    Parties Reach Agreement In Principle To Settle Fracking Securities Litigation

    HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas has issued an order directing the parties in a shareholder lawsuit against a hydraulic fracturing operator and three of its senior executives to file a settlement agreement and a motion for preliminary approval in light of the parties’ joint motion notifying the district court that they have reached an agreement in principle to settle the case.  The parties did not provide details related to the agreement.

  • May 07, 2024

    State Says Production Request Valid In Federal Fracking Lease Dispute With DOI

    BISMARCK, N.D. — The state of North Dakota on May 6 filed a reply brief in North Dakota federal court contending that its production request in its ongoing dispute with the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) should be granted because the BLM is not complying with its duty to provide information related to the agencies’ decision to cancel certain hydraulic fracturing lease sales, which the state calls “the Stop.”

  • May 06, 2024

    Fracking Agency In Federal Case Says Alaska Lease Cancellation Violated The Law

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Following a ruling by a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that transferred a dispute over federal hydraulic fracturing leases to federal court in Alaska, a state fracking agency on May 3 filed an opening brief in support of vacating a lease cancellation decision, arguing that when the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) canceled its leases, it “failed to recognize that a purported violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (‘NEPA’) cannot in any circumstance be the basis for rescinding a program step that is statutorily-mandated . . . even if such a NEPA violation might be a basis for pausing the discretionary aspects of implementation of the same program.”

  • May 03, 2024

    Government Failed To Honor Native American Fracking Rights, Plaintiffs Say

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Native Americans who have been engaged in a long-running land dispute with the U.S. government regarding alleged mismanagement of oil and natural gas resources in the Bakken Shale formation, including claims that the government has withheld payments owed to the plaintiffs, have filed a post-trial reply brief in federal court arguing that the government’s case is “another example of Defendant’s failure to honor a trust doctrine that ‘is one of the cornerstones of Indian law.”

  • May 02, 2024

    Ohio Attorney General: Fracking Waste Facility Is In Contempt, Violating Permit

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — On May 1, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed the first written charges alleging contempt against a waste management company and its affiliates in Ohio state court and seeking an order compelling it to show cause as to why it has not complied with orders requiring it to resolve violations of its permit for a hydraulic fracturing waste facility.

  • May 01, 2024

    Panel Rules Federal Agency’s Pipeline Expansion Approval Was ‘Reasonable’

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 30 affirmed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of a certificate for the expansion of a pipeline, ruling that objections to the project “lacked merit” because FERC’s certification was “reasonable and reasonably explained.”

  • May 01, 2024

    Panel Dismisses Oil Company’s Appeal Of Zoning Ruling For Lack Of Jurisdiction

    LOS ANGELES — A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has dismissed for lack of jurisdiction an appeal by an oil company that sought to overturn a California federal judge’s ruling that a decision by municipal authorities that nullified the company’s zoning clearance to conduct drilling operations was valid.  The panel did not elaborate on its reasoning for dismissing the appeal.

  • April 29, 2024

    Amici: Pipeline Case Involves Constitutional Issues; Supreme Court Should Hear It

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two groups have filed amicus curiae briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that it should hear the appeal of landowners who oppose the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), which would carry hydraulically fractured gas 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia.  In one brief, the Young Americas Foundation (YAF) contends that the landowners’ challenge deserves to be heard because it involves “important constitutional issues” such as the separation of powers doctrine.

  • April 29, 2024

    Oil Company Asks 10th Circuit To Reverse Royalty Ruling In Long-Running Dispute

    DENVER — An oil and gas company on April 26 filed its opening brief in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals challenging an order and final judgment that terminated a long-running hydraulic fracturing royalty dispute, arguing that the lower court erred when it adopted a ruling from a previous judge that granted an energy company summary judgment on its claim for its royalty share of a $17.5 million consideration paid by another party in the litigation as part of a settlement.

  • April 26, 2024

    Groups Want Appeals Court To Reverse Ruling That Nixed Fracking Permit Challenge

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Environmental advocacy groups filed their opening appeal brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 25, arguing that they have standing to challenge the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) decision to grant permits to conduct hydraulic fracturing operations in New Mexico’s Permian Basin and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, which the groups say was done in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other federal laws.