Mealey's Fracking

  • November 29, 2023

    Federal Agencies: Injunction Sought By Willow Project Opponents Has ‘No Valid Basis’

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Federal agencies on Nov. 28 filed a brief in Alaska federal court contending that it should deny environmental and Native American groups’ motions for an injunction pending appeal of the court’s decision to dismiss the claims brought by the groups, which oppose the Willow Project, a hydraulic fracturing operation in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, because the groups “have identified no valid basis” for the court to revisit its “recent and thorough analysis.”

  • November 28, 2023

    Texas Appellate Panel Affirms $23.56M Award In Fracking Contract Dispute

    HOUSTON — An appellate panel in Texas has ruled that evidence was legally sufficient to support a jury’s verdict that awarded a freshwater pipeline company $23,560,541.20 in damages for breach of contract after a hydraulic fracturing company started buying fresh water from suppliers other than the pipeline with which the fracking company had a supply agreement.

  • November 13, 2023

    Judge Says Plaintiff’s Expert May Testify In Case Over Seismic Data For Fracking

    HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas has denied a defendant’s motion to exclude a plaintiff’s witness regarding his testimony on reasonable royalty damages in a dispute over disclosure of unlicensed seismic data to a third-party oil and gas operator, ruling that the testimony is permitted as long as it complies with the requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 701.

  • November 10, 2023

    Judge Dismisses With Prejudice Groups’ Challenges To Willow Project Approval

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge in Alaska on Nov. 9 dismissed with prejudice all claims brought by environmental groups and Native Americans who oppose the Willow Project, a hydraulic fracturing operation in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, ruling that federal agencies were not “arbitrary and capricious” in reaching the conclusion that the project should be approved.

  • November 10, 2023

    Panel Reverses, Remands Case Over Mineral Interests Based On Experts And Evidence

    EL PASO, Texas — A Texas appellate court panel has reversed and remanded a trial court’s summary judgment ruling in a dispute over whether a hydraulic fracturing operator trespassed onto another fracking company’s mineral interests by contaminating the area of operation with fracking wastewater.  The panel said the plaintiff offered evidence of harm and produced experts that were reliable (Iskandia Energy Operating Inc. v. SWEPI LP, No. 08-22-00103, Texas App., 8th Dist., 2023 Tex. App. LEXIS 8288).

  • November 10, 2023

    Appellate Justice Says State Agency Has ‘Sole’ Authority To Regulate Gas Wells

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A state appeals court justice in West Virginia has reversed a lower court ruling and held that a city cannot hinder a hydraulic fracturing operator’s ability to begin drilling once the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) has issued a permit.  The justice said a city’s approval scheme is in direct conflict with state law that vests the WVDEP with “sole and exclusive authority” to regulate the “permitting” and “location” of horizontal gas wells.

  • November 09, 2023

    Judge Dismisses Case Over Fracking Permits Due To Groups’ Lack Of Standing

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed a dispute over federal permits for hydraulic fracturing, ruling that environmental groups failed to allege a cognizable injury in fact and therefore could not establish standing.

  • November 09, 2023

    5th Circuit Affirms Contract Dispute Award, But Remands For Further Consideration

    NEW ORLEANS — A panel of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has affirmed a $11,897,689.39 jury award in a hydraulic fracturing breach of contract case but remanded the case to have the trial court consider whether it should allow the appellant to pursue discovery relating to the possibility that a settlement between the plaintiff and other parties in the dispute should be subtracted from the final judgment.

  • November 09, 2023

    Arkansas Appellate Panel: Energy Company Improperly Reduced Royalty Payments

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas appeals panel has affirmed a lower court’s ruling that an energy production company made improper deductions from royalties payments in violation of Arkansas state statutes.

  • November 08, 2023

    Judge Dismisses, Allows Some Claims In Federal Fracking Permit Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed multiple claims related to the issuance of federal permits to drill for hydraulic fracturing for lack of standing but has held that claims involving the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) record of decision (ROD) related to land use are valid.

  • November 07, 2023

    Amici Tell 10th Circuit Biden Exceeded Authority With National Monuments Decision

    DENVER — On Nov. 6, multiple parties filed amicus curiae briefs in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in support of Utah and two counties that have appealed the ruling of a lower court on grounds that that court erred when it dismissed the state and counties’ claims against the Biden administration for its decision to reinstate the dimensions of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments because the action exceeded the scope of the Antiquities Act.

  • November 07, 2023

    Groups:  Fracking Company’s Willow Project Supplemental Authority Not ‘Pertinent’

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A coalition of environmental groups and Native Americans on Nov. 6 filed a brief in Alaska federal court contending that a hydraulic fracturing operator’s notice of supplemental authority that asks the district court to consider a ruling in a separate fracking lease case is “neither pertinent nor significant.”

  • November 03, 2023

    Health Professionals Call For Ban On Fracking Due To ‘Grave Threats’

    ALBANY, N.Y. — The group Concerned Health Professionals of New York (CHPNY) has released a report finding that based on “the rapidly expanding body of evidence,” there are “a plethora of recurring problems” with hydraulic fracturing such that “the only method of mitigating its grave threats to public health and the climate is a complete and comprehensive ban on fracking.”

  • November 02, 2023

    Oil Company Agrees To Pay $16 Million To Resolve Alleged Royalty Underpayments

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Public Affairs in a Nov. 1 press release announced that a natural gas company has agreed to pay the United States $16 million in exchange for resolution of allegations that the company underpaid royalties it owed to the United States pursuant to federal and Native American land leases under which it produces natural gas.

  • November 01, 2023

    Mineral Rights Holders Oppose Stay In Dispute Over Royalty Payments

    CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Mineral rights holders on Oct. 31 filed an opposition brief in West Virginia federal court arguing that it should deny a stay of the case sought by a hydraulic fracturing operator because it is “completely unnecessary and would only function to further prolong resolution” of a dispute over royalty payments under leases between the parties.

  • October 31, 2023

    Utah Tells 10th Circuit Biden Exceeded Authority With National Monuments Order

    DENVER — Utah and two counties on Oct. 30 filed an opening appellant brief in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that a lower court erred when it dismissed their claims against the Biden administration for its decision to reinstate the dimensions of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments because the action exceeded the scope of the Antiquities Act.

  • October 31, 2023

    Judge Says Agency Acted Within Its Authority In Denying Drilling Rights

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A federal judge in Wyoming on Oct. 30 ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) acted within its scope of authority when it denied an oil company’s attempt to drill a traverse well under a split estate because the BLM is permitted to regulate subsurface activity on federal land to protect federal minerals.

  • October 30, 2023

    Judge Nixes Lease Dispute, Says Plaintiff Did Not Exhaust Administrative Remedies

    BISMARCK, N.D. — A federal judge in North Dakota has dismissed an oil and gas lease dispute against federal agencies and an energy company and has ruled that a hydraulic fracturing operator’s motion to dismiss is moot in a lawsuit regarding a mineral leasehold interest located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, concluding that the plaintiff must exhaust administrative remedies before bringing suit in federal court.

  • October 26, 2023

    Panel Denies Landowners’ Bid For An Injunction In Mountain Valley Pipeline Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has denied an emergency motion for injunctive relief sought by private landowners who object to the route of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

  • October 25, 2023

    Company Tells 6th Circuit Lower Court Erroneously Interpreted Land Deed

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — An energy company filed an appellant brief in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that a lower court erroneously interpreted the scope of a reservation of oil and gas in a deed when it dismissed the company’s claims in a complex mineral rights dispute and held that the company did not have claims to specific tracts of land.

  • October 25, 2023

    Judge Says Portion Of PFAS Pollution Case Related To Fracking Wells May Proceed

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A judge on the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) has partially dismissed a landowner’s lawsuit against the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), ruling that the EHB lacks jurisdiction over claims that the DEP failed to take action to deal with water contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) but concluding that the landowner’s claim that the “drilling, alteration or operation of oil or gas wells” played a role in contaminating his water supply was valid (Bryan Latkanich v. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, et al., No. 2023-043-B, Pa. EHB).

  • October 25, 2023

    Fracking Operator Removes Lease Dispute Valued At $100,000 To Federal Court

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A hydraulic fracturing operator has removed to Ohio federal court a lease dispute in which landowners contend that the company owes them $100,000 because it breached the agreement between the parties when it failed to pay the full bonus amount due under the contract (William E. Davis, et al. v. Gulfport Appalachia LLC, No. 23-3448, S.D. Ohio).

  • October 24, 2023

    Fracking Operator: Shareholder Case Fails, Does Not Plead Particularized Facts

    HOUSTON — A hydraulic fracturing operator and three of its senior executives filed an answer in Texas federal court denying class action claims brought by shareholders who contend that the company and its officers violated federal securities laws.  The defendants also argue that the complaint fails to satisfy the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA) by not pleading particularized facts showing that the defendants made material misstatements.

  • October 23, 2023

    Owner Of Automated Fracking Patent Says Tech Is Novel, Valid

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a new appeal to the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, U.S. Well Services Inc. (USWS) says its patented method for automating hydraulic fracturing “addresses many of the problems stemming from” human “powering and coordinating” of hydraulic fracturing operations and was wrongly declared anticipated and obvious by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

  • October 20, 2023

    Fracking Advocates Say Ruling On President Biden’s Lease Moratorium Is Moot

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Hydraulic fracturing advocates have moved in Alaska federal court for vacatur of the court’s ruling granting summary judgment to the Biden administration in a dispute over the president’s moratorium on federal fracking leases, arguing that the claims in the case are now moot because the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has canceled the leases and the cancellation constitutes a new final agency action.