Topic: Arkansas

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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, Louisiana, and Arkansas. This produced two key observations about the quality of the water. First, over 90 percent of the wells containing methane had concentrations below the government’s proposed threshold of 10 milligrams per liter. And even then, “most of the methane detected in groundwater … 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, even without the report, the plaintiffs had raised a fact issue for the jury.

In 2009, Southwestern Energy approached the Stroud family seeking to use a plugged well on their property as a waste water injection site. The Strouds declined and Southwestern began injecting water … 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 by the plaintiff that she suffered damages due to XTO’s drilling operations on a neighbor’s property.

During deliberations, the jury asked the district court whether XTO’s drilling operations included fracking or only drilling. The judge responded that the jury could only consider evidence presented … 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

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 addition, these families assert that the compressor stations “are injuriously loud and produce harmful levels of noise and toxic emissions” and that they have been harmed by the noise, vibration, odor and pollution.

Having purchased their property many years ago because it was in a … 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 the letter dated December 18, 2013, the members cite the increased seismic activity in previously seismically inactive locations, the critical need for additional data, and the potential regulatory gaps in current law that put people and property at risk from man-made earthquakes.

According to the … Continue Reading

New study shows no evidence of water contamination from shale gas drilling in Arkansas

Duke University and the U.S. Geological Society (USGS) investigated the possible degradation of water quality in shallow aquifers overlying the Fayetteville Shale formation in north-central Arkansas, where approximately 4,000 wells have been drilled since 2004 to extract unconventional natural gas.

The studywhich was released in mid-May 2013 found no evidence of groundwater contamination from shale gas production in Arkansas.  The scientists sampled 127 shallow drinking water wells in areas overlying the gas-producing Fayettevile Shale formation.  The samples were taken at various locations by personnel from the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission.  The samples were analyzed for major and trace … Continue Reading

USGS Offers Insight into Impacts of Fracturing in Fayetteville Shale

A report recently released by the United States Geological Survey (“USGS”) found that water wells in the Fayetteville Shale of north-central Arkansas are, thus far, not contaminated by the area’s hydraulic fracturing activities.

The Fayetteville Shale is a relatively small shale play, with 4,000 wells drilled as of April, 2012. The concern of area residents that their water wells were contaminated by shale activity prompted the USGS’ involvement and subsequent testing.

The USGS sampled 127 domestic water wells in the Fayetteville Shale area for major ions and trace metals, with some samples tested for methane and carbon isotopes.… Continue Reading

Survey of Flaring Regs for Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming

Survey of Flaring Regs for Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and WyomingNatural gas production is booming in the United States.

Operators, aided by advances in hydraulic fracturing, have ramped up production, whether by reworking old oil wells or exploiting new formations altogether.
However, just because an operator has the ability to produce natural gas does not necessarily mean that it can sell the gas; compressors, pipelines, treatment plants, and other infrastructure must be prepared in order to get the gas to market.

In some cases, this lack of infrastructure has led operators to vent or flare gas at the wellhead.

In order to get a better understanding of where the law … 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 Virginia have been experiencing frequent, small earthquakes. On New Year’s Eve, a 4.0 magnitude earthquake struck just outside of Youngstown, Ohio. This quake was just one of 11 earthquakes experienced in the area since March, 2011.

D&L Energy, whose affiliate Northstar Disposal Services LLC operates Continue Reading