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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

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

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

Florida house fracking bill passes second subcommittee

H.B. 191, a Florida bill that would facilitate fracking throughout Florida recently gained approval in the House Agricultural and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. Since this is the second subcommittee it has passed, the bill is poised to be debated by the entire House in Florida’s upcoming January legislative session. So far, opposition from the bill has come from … 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 third quarter of 2015. The next issue … Continue reading

N.C. legislature preempts local fracking regulations with Senate Bill 119

North Carolina countered county fracking regulations with Senate Bill 119 on October 1st. Senate Bill 119 comes in at the tail of the Texas legislature’s H.B. 40, discussed earlier this week in this blog. Both designate state control versus local control over fracking regulations. Local counties, such as Chatham and Stokes, have passed hydraulic fracking moratoriums since mid-August, and Lee county is currently considering … Continue reading

Florida Legislature renews consideration of fracking ban

Last year, members of the Florida Legislature introduced S.B. 166—a bill that would have banned hydraulic fracturing in the state. The bill advanced to the Senate’s Environmental Preservation and Conservation committee but failed to advance any further. S.B. 166 was introduced after the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) sued the Dan A. Hughes Company … 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 2015. The next … Continue reading

Induced seismicity developments: Earthquake lawsuit jurisdiction, new research, and seismic monitoring

This June earthquakes captured the attention of courts, researchers, and regulators in key oil and gas producing states. Oklahoma’s highest court gave the green light to a lawsuit blaming injection wells for a plaintiff’s home damage and personal injuries suffered during an earthquake. Kentucky is increasing seismic monitoring within the state, and Texas oil and … Continue reading

Florida House of Representatives passes bill to strengthen hydraulic fracturing requirements

Earlier this week, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill targeted at hydraulic fracturing. The bill, H.B. 1205, would heighten the regulatory requirements on fracking. The bill passed easily with a sizeable majority voting in favor of the bill. 82 members of the House of Representatives voted in favor of passing the bill and … Continue reading

Train derailment in West Virginia

Earlier this week, a train transporting crude oil derailed close to Boomer, West Virginia. The train was carrying oil from the Bakken shale in North Dakota to Yorktown, Virginia. CSX Corporation Inc. (CSX) operated the one hundred-car train. Conflicting reports have emerged on the impact of the derailment. Some reports suggests that the derailment may … Continue reading

Constitutional challenge filed against North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission

On Monday, the Haw River Assembly and Keely Wood Puricz filed suit in North Carolina state court, requesting the court to rule that North Carolina General Statute § 143B-293.2(a) is unconstitutional. North Carolina General Statute § 143B-293.2(a) specifies the appointment process for the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission (NCMEC) of the Department of Environment … Continue reading

Potential fracking ban on the horizon in Florida

Several states are currently involved in heated debates concerning hydraulic fracturing. The debates have ranged from whether states should implement fracking bans to whether localities have the authority to issue such prohibitions. Florida appears to be joining the debate. On Tuesday, two Florida state senators—Darren Soto and Dwight Bullard—proposed a bill to ban hydraulic fracturing … Continue reading

US Forest Service issues plan allowing fracking in George Washington National Forest

On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, the United States Forest Service’s (USFS) Southern Regional Forester issued a Revised Land and Resource Management Plan and Record of Decision allowing natural gas drilling to take place on 177,200 acres of the George Washington National Forest located in Virginia and West Virginia. The new plan will go into effect … Continue reading

Eighth Circuit refuses to overturn jury verdict despite allegations that verdict was tainted

In Hiser v. XTO Energy, Inc., the Eighth Circuit affirmed a jury verdict against XTO Energy, Inc. (XTO) and rejected XTO’s argument that the district court should have granted its motion for a new trial. The appeal was heard by Judge Duane Benton, Judge Michael J. Melloy, and Judge Bobby E. Shepherd. Hiser involved allegations … Continue reading

North Carolina to allow hydraulic fracking

On June 04, 2014, Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed a bill into law allowing hydraulic fracking within the state, lifting a moratorium that has blocked fracking permits since 2012. Fracking in North Carolina can begin as early as next year. Gov. McCrory signed the Energy Modernization Act of 2014 at an event at … Continue reading

North Carolina lawmakers consider proposed Energy Modernization Act

In July 2012, North Carolina’s state assembly overrode the governor’s veto to enact a bill lifting a ban on hydraulic fracturing and requiring state regulators to pass and implement rules relating to hydraulic fracturing activities, including the disclosure of chemicals to state agencies and local emergency responders, by October 1, 2014. On May 15, 2014, … Continue reading

EPA reviews states’ solid waste management regulations for oil and gas operations

In an April 1, 2014 memorandum, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) summarized state regulatory programs concerning the management of solid waste from oil and natural gas exploration, development and production (E&P) operations. In reviewing each state’s regulations, the EPA focused on surface storage and disposal facilities managing produced waters, drilling muds, drilling cuttings, hydraulic … Continue reading

Senators question EPA’s proposed research into states’ efforts to regulate hydraulic fracturing

In a letter dated May 8, 2014, five U.S. senators urged the Office of Inspector (OIG) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to discontinue its “preliminary research on the EPA’s and states’ ability to manage potential threats to water resources from hydraulic fracturing,” arguing that such a review is “well outside the mission and … Continue reading

Eight Arkansas families sue natural gas gathering company over compressor station operations

In the Circuit Court of Faulkner County, Arkansas, on April 24, 2014, eight families who live near compressor stations operated by Desoto Gathering Company sued that company, alleging the emission of “huge amounts of methane and hydrogen sulfide, as well as other flammable, malodorous and noxious gases, chemicals and compounds, directly into the air.” In … Continue reading

Council of the District of Columbia votes to prohibit fracking in the George Washington National Forest

At the Washington DC City Council meeting on March 6, 2014, all twelve lawmakers present unanimously voted to prohibit horizontal hydraulic fracturing operations in the nearby George Washington National Forest. The 1.1 million-acre forest located in Virginia and West Virginia, with more than half lying over the Marcellus Shale geological formation, contains the headwaters of … Continue reading

Emergency order requires testing and classification of crude oil transported by rail

On February 25, 2014, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an emergency order requiring rail shippers of crude oil to test the crude’s makeup before shipping it and to classify the crude as Packing Group I (high danger) or Packing Group II (medium danger) hazardous material until further notice. The DOT’s emergency order recognizes … Continue reading

Virginia plans to expand disclosure of fracking chemicals

Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (“DMME”) issued a notice that it plans to mend its Oil and Gas Regulations (4VAC25-150) to ensure that these regulations reflect current industry best practices and to expand the disclosure of chemical ingredients used in oil and gas operations, including hydraulic fracturing. The deadline for public comments is … Continue reading
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