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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

Ohio court strikes down local drilling ban

On March 10, 2015, a Cuyahoga County trial court struck down a local ban on oil and gas development. See Bass Energy, Inc. v. Broadview Heights, Slip Opinion No. CV-14-828074 (Cuyahoga Cnty. Ct. Mar. 10, 2015). This decision comes less than a month after the Ohio Supreme Court struck down a neighboring city’s ordinance which restricted oil … Continue reading

Ohio Supreme Court strikes down local regulation of oil and gas operations

On February 17, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a long-awaited opinion in State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp. The Court, in a divided opinion (3-1-3), held that Ohio’s Home Rule Amendment does not allow a local municipality to enforce its own permitting scheme in addition to the statewide scheme adopted under Ohio … 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

Methane emissions from oil and gas operations targeted by state regulations

Ohio has joined Colorado and Wyoming in issuing new regulations aimed at limiting the emission of methane gas from oil and natural gas operations to address climate change and health concerns. In development for more than a year, the revised Ohio rules are effective immediately and apply to high volume hydraulic fracturing, oil and gas … Continue reading

Bans, moratoriums and votes relating to hydraulic fracturing

Each state has legitimate interests in the orderly development of their oil and gas resources and generally regulates all oil and gas activities through a state agency which implements state laws. Counties and municipalities have also taken interest in the development of oil and gas resources within their boundaries by enacting local ordinances ranging from … Continue reading

Ohio DNR investigates earthquakes near gas drilling site

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is investigating four small earthquakes that occurred on March 10, 2014 in Poland Township. These four earthquakes measured 3.0, 2.4, 2.2 and 2.6 in magnitude, causing no injuries or damages. The National Earthquake Information Center of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) placed the epicenter of the 3.0 earthquake … Continue reading

House Democrats request hearing on induced seismicity

Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, issued a letter to their Republican counterparts requesting a joint hearing on the issue of seismic activity induced by the underground injection of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing activities. In … Continue reading

Sixth Circuit upholds “fair market value” agreements in Ohio oil and gas leases

From 2008 to 2010, numerous landowners in eastern Ohio entered into oil and gas leases with Anschutz Exploration Company, which were later assigned to Chesapeake Exploration LLC. These leases contain a “Preferential Right to Renew” or a “fair market value” provision (Paragraph 14 in the lease). This clause provides that, “[i]f, at any time during … Continue reading

Ohio advises drillers to comply with EPA chemical reporting requirements

In September 2012, the Ohio legislature passed regulations requiring oil and gas well operators to report the contents of fracking fluids, recycling fluids, and wastewater to the state’s Department of Natural Resources. These reporting regulations went into effect on September 11,2012, and require the disclosure of the trade name and volume of all “products, fluids, … Continue reading

Ohio voters reject proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing in northeast Ohio

In February 2013, the City Council of Youngstown, Ohio agreed to include on its ballot a proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing within the city limits after an anti-fracking organization, Frackfree Mahoning Valley, collected sufficient signatures for a successful petition. The unofficial results of the election held on May 7, 2013 show voters rejected this proposal … Continue reading

Flowback fluid recycling regulation in the Marcellus Shale

This is the second article in a series of blog posts evaluating the current status of flowback and produced water recycling regulations in the major shale play states. These waters are generated through the hydraulic fracturing process, and this blog post continues the discussion of the manner in which these waters are disposed. The Marcellus … Continue reading

Ohio Governor Seeks Radiation Testing Requirements For Oil and Gas Waste

On February 12, 2013, Ohio Governor John Kasich introduced his two-year, $63.2 billion budget, including a provision that would require drillers of oil and natural gas to test their drilling waste for radiation before disposal in Ohio landfills. The budget proposal, introduced as Ohio House Bill 59, was developed by the Ohio Departments of Health … Continue reading

Summit Petroleum (6th Cir. Aug. 7, 2012): EPA’s Aggregation of Oil and Gas Emissions Based on “Mere Functional Relatedness” is Unreasonable

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit* in Summit Petroleum Corporation v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Nos. 09-4348; 10-4572) vacated EPA’s order aggregating Summit’s sour gas wells and sweetening plant into a single major source. The Court agreed with American Petroleum Institute and American Exploration and Production Counsel that … Continue reading

Ohio’s Governor Issues An Executive Order Relating to Underground Injection Activities

Ohio Governor John Kasich On July 10, 2012, with the ink barely dry on the signing into law of S.B. 315, which requires water testing within 1500 feet of proposed horizontal wells and the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, Ohio Governor John Kasich issued Executive Order 2012-09K. This Executive Order immediately implements regulations … Continue reading

Preliminary Report on Link Between Earthquakes and Ohio Disposal Well

As previously reported in Fulbright’s Fracking Blog post, “Injection Wells and Their Possible Link to Seismic Activity,” earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio–including a 4.0 New Year’s Day quake–sparked national interest in early 2012. The underground injection of fluids in Class II deep disposal wells, not oil and gas drilling or the hydraulic fracturing production process, were speculated … Continue reading

Ohio Issues New Standards for Transportation and Disposal of Brine

On March 9, 2012, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (“ODNR”) announced new standards for the transportation and disposal of brine generated from oil and gas activities. According to the ODNR, the new regulatory framework makes Ohio’s rules for brine monitoring and disposal among the nation’s toughest. The new standards come at the heels of … Continue reading

Injection Wells and Their Possible Link to Seismic Activity

The use of injection wells, a preferred method for disposal of various fluids such as wastewater or brine (salt water), is a popular topic in the news media lately due to a suspected link between use of these wells and earthquakes. Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, the United Kingdom, and most recently Youngstown, Ohio and central West … Continue reading
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