Barclay Nicholson (US)

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Delaware River Basin Commission to consider fracking ban

On Wednesday, the Delaware River Basin Commission voted to begin the rule making process that could lead to a fracking ban in parts of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The Commission, which regulates the Delaware River watershed and is comprised of members from each of the above states and a representative from the … Continue reading

INEOS granted second UK exploratory drilling permit

On 18 July 2017, INEOS was granted an environmental permit to drill an exploratory borehole to take core shale samples at a site near Common Road, Harthill, South Yorkshire. It was the second permit granted by the Environment Agency (EA) to INEOS in less than three weeks after a similar ‘standard rules’ permit was approved … Continue reading

US BLM plans to rescind Obama-era fracking rule

The US Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday issued a proposed rule that would rescind Obama-era fracking regulations. The regulations, which were promulgated in 2015 and related to hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands, had never taken effect. In March 2015, the BLM, then under the Obama administration, issued a final rule that imposed … Continue reading

More production cuts possible in Europe’s Groningen gas field due to earthquakes

Authorities in the Netherlands have proposed more production cuts in the Groningen gas field, Europe’s largest, in response to earthquake concerns. The cuts would limit production by another 10%, in addition to cuts that have already taken effect, with intent to further reduce the number of earthquakes occurring in the country’s north. For decades, the … Continue reading

Texas task force notes benefits of fracking, calls for more data

The Task Force on Environmental and Community Impacts of Shale Development in Texas on Monday released a 204-page report analyzing fracking’s impacts on the state. The Task Force, a group sponsored by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas and comprised of individuals from varied backgrounds in the energy and environmental community, lauded … Continue reading

Latest USGS study finds fracking is not a current threat to drinking water

In a study published May 31, 2017, the United States Geological Survey concluded that unconventional oil and gas production in the Eagle Ford, Fayetteville, and Haynesville shale formations is “not currently a significant source of methane or benzene to drinking water wells.” Researchers sampled over one hundred drinking-water wells in the frack zones of Texas, … Continue reading

“Crude and imperfect” expert report enough to survive summary judgment in Arkansas subsurface trespass

The 8th Circuit held on Monday, May 22, 2017, that the Arkansas district court abused its discretion when it granted summary judgment for the defendants in a subsurface trespass case. The appellate court instead held that the plaintiffs’ “crude and imperfect” expert report was not flawed to the point of exclusion and also held that, … Continue reading

US BLM asks 10th Circuit to pause review of Obama-era fracking rule

On Friday, the US Bureau of Land Management asked the Tenth Circuit to pause its review of an Obama-era rule on fracking. The rule, if implemented, would restrict fracking practices on federal and tribal lands. The move comes at a time when the BLM and other agencies are reconsidering their positions in light of the … Continue reading

UK High Court dismisses challenge to fracking planning permission

On 12 April 2017, the High Court dismissed a judicial review application challenging the decision of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, to allow fracking in Lancashire. As reported in our blog of 22 November 2016, community group ‘Preston New Road Action Group’ (PNRAG) brought the application for judicial review … Continue reading

Northern Cross sues Yukon over fracking moratorium

Earlier this month, Northern Cross Limited, a company based in the western Canadian territory of Yukon, sued the Yukon government over its moratorium on fracking. The company, which has been exploring the Eagle Plains region in the north of the territory, says the moratorium is a de facto “expropriation” of the company’s oil and gas … Continue reading

Maryland bans fracking

Maryland’s governor, Larry Hogan, on Tuesday signed into law a bill that bans hydraulic fracturing in the state. The move comes a week after the state’s legislature passed the bill. Maryland currently has no fracking activity inside its borders, leading many to label the move political—that is, a play to constituents without much consequence. But … Continue reading

PA federal judge vacates controversial fracking verdict

In a win for industry, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Friday vacated a controversial fracking verdict in the highly publicized case Ely v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. The verdict was against the great weight of the evidence and shaded by the plaintiffs’ attorney’s missteps, said the court in its decision. Last March, a Pennsylvania … Continue reading

Trump tells US Interior to reconsider fracking rules

President Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order with broad implications for the oil and gas industry. Among its provisions, the order requires the US Department of the Interior to reanalyze its fracking regulations. The executive order, entitled Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, announces a shift in American environmental policy. It establishes as paramount … Continue reading

PA DEP addresses possible link between local earthquakes and fracking

Pennsylvania’s environmental regulators last month addressed a potential link between a string of small local earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing in the Utica Shale. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a report in February analyzing together four small-scale earthquakes, which occurred in April 2016 in Lawrence County, and fracking operations in the surrounding area. … Continue reading

PA Department of Environmental Protection’s negotiating power fracked

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) may see new challenges in negotiating settlements with purported violators of Pennsylvania’s Clean Stream Law.  A recent Pennsylvania appellate court ruled that ongoing penalties are impermissible for a single waterway leak from fracking activities under the state’s Clean Streams Law.  The Clean Stream Law punishes violators for pollution released … Continue reading

Quarterly Legislative Activity Update: Marcellus and Utica Shale Regions

Our Norton Rose Fulbright Pittsburgh-Southpointe practice tracks legislative activity that we believe may impact oil and gas development within the Marcellus and Utica shale regions (Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio). This Quarterly Update contains all of the relevant legislative activity occurring in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio during the fourth quarter of 2016. Read the … Continue reading

Legislative Activity Update – Five Pennsylvania Bills

The following bill, which has been introduced previously, has been acted upon by the General Assembly since the last Legislative Activity Update: PA House Bill 1391 – Amendments to Oil and Gas Lease Act Sponsor: Garth D. Everett (Republican – parts of Lycoming and Union counties [northern Pennsylvania]) Overview: Adds definitions for “lessee,” “lessor,” “operator,” “production unit,” … Continue reading

Oklahoma shuts down wastewater disposal wells after recent earthquake

For years, the oil and gas industry has been blamed for the increase in seismic activity in various areas of the United States. Previous posts on this blog have tracked the allegations that hydraulic fracturing operations have contributed to seismic activity. A recent earthquake over the weekend has again sparked a debate regarding the alleged … Continue reading

EPA Fracking Study Attacked

On August 11, 2016, EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) challenged EPA’s recent determination that hydraulic fracking mechanisms did not lead to “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”  In June 2015, EPA released its hydraulic fracking study, formally known as “Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and … Continue reading

Quarterly Legislative Action Update: Marcellus and Utica Shale Region

Our Norton Rose Fulbright Pittsburgh-Southpointe practice tracks legislative activity that we believe may impact oil and gas development within the Marcellus and Utica shale regions (Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio). This Quarterly Update contains all of the relevant legislative activity occurring in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio during the second quarter of 2016. The next … Continue reading

The Bureau of Land Management appeals hydraulic fracturing decision

As discussed in a prior post, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl recently struck down the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) hydraulic fracturing rule. In the BLM’s hydraulic fracturing rule, the BLM imposed stricter rules on well casing, wastewater storage, and chemical disclosure. Judge Skavdahl held that the BLM lacked the authority to enact the rule. … Continue reading

Recent Hydraulic Fracturing Rule Invalidated

Last year, the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a rule heightening the requirements placed on hydraulic fracturing operations on federal and tribal land. Specifically, the BLM heightened the rules for well casing and wastewater storage and required the disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process. The BLM’s hydraulic fracturing rule was … Continue reading

Legislative Activity Update – Three Pennsylvania Bills

The following bills, which have been introduced previously, have been acted upon by the General Assembly since the last Legislative Activity Update: PA Senate Bill 279 – Pennsylvania Grade Crude Development Advisory Council Act Sponsor: Scott E. Hutchinson (Republican – Clarion, Forest, Venango, and parts of Butler and Warren Counties [northwest Pennsylvania]; member of the Environmental … Continue reading

Legislative Activity Update – Three Pennsylvania Bills

The following bill, which had been introduced previously, has been acted upon by the General Assembly since the last Legislative Activity Update: PA House Bill 1704 – Amendments to Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law Sponsor: Mark Mustio (Republican – part of Allegheny County [outside Pittsburgh]) Overview: Provides for use of current term “Engineer Intern” … Continue reading
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