Topic: Hydraulic fracking

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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

Challenge to UK planning permission for fracking

Community group ‘Preston New Road Action Group’ (PNRAG) has taken further action to challenge the government’s decision to allow fracking of shale gas at a site near Little Plumpton, Lancashire (the Plumpton Site). As reported in our blog of 21 October 2016, PNRAG sent a letter before action last month to the Secretary of State … Continue reading

Researchers zero in on how fracking can cause earthquakes

A new academic study reveals two ways hydraulic fracturing by oil and gas operators can cause earthquakes in Alberta, Canada. Researchers at the University of Calgary’s Department of Geoscience have discovered that tremors induced by hydraulic fracturing can occur through pore pressure increases and by stress changes.  The study “Fault Activation by Hydraulic Fracturing” has … Continue reading

Green light for more UK exploratory shale gas wells

Nottinghamshire County Council’s Planning and Licensing Committee (the Committee) has approved plans to drill the county’s first exploratory shale gas wells. The approval which permits drilling two wells to explore the rock geology near Misson was approved by a majority of seven votes to four. Island Gas Ltd (IGas) submitted its planning application for the … Continue reading

Community Group challenges UK Government’s fracking decision

As reported in our blog post dated 7 October 2016, the Government recently ‎overturned Lancashire County Council’s refusal of planning permission for fracking at a site near Little Plumpton in Lancashire. The appeal was granted by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 6 October 2016 allowing the appellant, Cuadrilla, to carry … Continue reading

UK shale: fracking looks set to be part of the future

In a landmark decision, the UK Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid (the SoS), has overturned the decision of Lancashire County Council (the Council) to refuse planning permission to extract shale gas at a site near Little Plumpton, Lancashire (the Plumpton Hall Farm Site). Planning applications submitted by the oil and … 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

Australia: Ban on Unconventional Gas Exploration and Development in Victoria

The Victorian Government has recently announced that by the end of 2016 there will be a complete ban on unconventional gas exploration and development (including coal seam gas and fracking). This follows the Victorian Government’s imposition of a temporary ban on conventional and unconventional onshore gas exploration and development in 2012. The rationale for the … 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

UK Shale Wealth Fund- payments direct to affected households

Plans for a Shale Wealth Fund were announced in last year’s autumn statement with proceeds expected to be shared between community trusts and local authorities. However, the Shale Wealth Fund Consultation launched on 8 August 2016 includes the possibility of funds being paid directly to local residents in host areas. It is proposed that communities … 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

New Brunswick Extends Fracking Moratorium Indefinitely

The Canadian Province of New Brunswick’s Energy Minister has announced that the current moratorium on hydraulic fracturing will continue indefinitely. The moratorium was put in place in December 2014 until five conditions have been met. The five conditions to allow hydraulic fracturing are: a social licence is in place; clear and credible information is available … Continue reading

Newfoundland & Labrador Hydraulic Fracturing Review Panel Release Report

The Canadian Province of Newfoundland & Labrador mandated an independent panel to conduct a public review and advise the Minister of Natural Resources on the socio-economic and environmental implications of hydraulic fracturing in Western Newfoundland. The panel has now issued its report. In November 2013 the Province imposed a “pause” in processing approvals of hydraulic … Continue reading

New fracking rules enter into force – England & Wales

Overview On 6 April 2016 regulations came into force setting out areas to be excluded from fracking and providing for a number of safeguards for onshore fracking in England and Wales. What areas are excluded from fracking? The Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing (Protected Areas) Regulations 2016 set out areas to be excluded from fracking as “protected … Continue reading

Study shows fracking linked to earthquakes in western Canada

According to a study described in the March 2016 edition of the journal Seismological Research Letters, hydraulic fracturing is linked to most induced earthquakes in the Western Canadian sedimentary basin. The study looked at data for 12,289 wells which had been hydraulically fractured, 1,236 waste water disposal wells and magnitude 3 or larger seismic events … Continue reading

That’s a lot of Gas!

Up to 425 trillion cubic feet. That’s a lot of gas. A new joint study by Canada’s National Energy Board, British Columbia’s Oil and Gas Commission, the Northwest Territories’ Geological Survey and the Yukon Geological Survey estimates that shales in Canada’s Liard Basin could contain up to 425 tcf of marketable natural gas, which is … Continue reading

New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing Publishes Recommendations

The Canadian Province of New Brunswick presently sources the majority of natural gas it consumes from the Sable Offshore Energy Project, but its production is slowing. The Frederick Brook shale is thought by some to contain vast reserves but it has yet to be drilled because in December 2014 the Government of New Brunswick placed … Continue reading

Sierra Club files earthquake lawsuit and Oklahoma regulators issue disposal injection reduction plan

Sierra Club makes induced seismicity claims against energy companies in federal lawsuit under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Days after a 5.1 magnitude quake shook Oklahoma on February 13, 2016, a federal suit claiming induced seismicity was filed. Sierra Club v. Chesapeake Operating LLC, et al., No. CIV-16-134-F, (W.D. Okla. filed Feb. 16, 2016). The suit, … Continue reading

State funding triggers TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program

The TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program, under the auspices of the University of Texas, is getting going, fueled by $4.5 million allocated by the Texas Legislature, with two new hires and seismographic equipment soon to be deployed.  The new project manager for TexNet is Alex Savvaidis, who operated a similar program in Greece.  Peter Hennings, a former ConocoPhillips structural geologist, will … Continue reading

DOI proposes methane and waste reduction rule

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, proposed a rule developed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) that would limit the flaring, leaking and venting of natural gas on public and tribal lands.  The reported purpose of this proposed rule is to cut down on methane emissions and prevent waste of natural gas.  … Continue reading
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