Topic: Maryland

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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 the western part of the state sits atop a portion of the Marcellus Shale, and industry for a while now has considered the prospect of drilling in the state.

Environmentalists praise the governor’s actions, but opponents of the law defend fracking and its safety. They … Continue Reading

Maryland state senators propose legislation targeting hydraulic fracturing

Senators Robert A. Zirkin and Jamie Raskin have introduced legislation aimed at drastically reducing hydraulic fracturing operations in Maryland. The bill, Senate Bill 458, would hold parties engaging in hydraulic fracturing operations strictly liable for injuries, deaths, or other losses caused by the fracking activities.

A plaintiff relying on Senate Bill 458 would have a rebuttable presumption that the defendant was jointly and severally liable for the plaintiff’s damages deriving from the hydraulic fracturing operations and the proximate cause for those damages. The bill would be limited to plaintiffs living in “a certain presumptive impact areas.”

Senate Bill 458 would … 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 fracturing return fluids, and various other waste liquids and materials intrinsically related to oil and gas E&P.

The EPA found that the state regulations were primarily concerned with the “technical requirements associated with the design, construction, operation, maintenance, closure, and reclamation of surface pits, … Continue Reading

US DOT discuss transport safety issues with oil and rail industry leaders

With the recent December 30, 2013 derailment of tanker cars carrying oil in Casselton, North Dakota, as well as other 2013 incidents  in western Minnesota, Baltimore, Alabama, and at three sites in Canada (Gainfield, Landis, and Lac-Mégantic, where 47 people were killed when  an unattended 72-car freight train derailed in the center of town), the US Department of Transportation (DOT) met with representatives from the oil and railroad industries to discuss transport safety issues relating to crude oil.

At the meeting on January 15, 2014, representatives from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reportedly … Continue Reading

Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, to pay large CWA 404 civil penalty

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced on December 19, 2013, that Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC, will pay a $3.2 million civil penalty and spend an EPA-estimated $6.5 million to restore 27 sites damaged by discharges of fill material into streams and wetlands and to implement a Clean Water Act (CWA) 404 compliance plan at the company’s natural gas extraction sites in West Virginia.

Of the 27 sites, four are freshwater impoundments, one is a compressor station, six involve operations related to vertical wells, and the remaining 16 sites involve operations related to horizontal drilling.
In addition … Continue Reading

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