Topic: Marcellus Shale

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Supreme Court of Pennsylvania set to determine whether rule of capture applies to fracking

On November 20, 2018, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued a one-page order agreeing to consider whether the rule of capture applies to hydraulic fracturing. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s review comes after the Pennsylvania Superior Court overturned decades of precedent and decided the rule of capture did not apply to fracking wells. The Pennsylvania … Continue reading

PA Superior Court revives trespass claim against fracking company

Last Monday, a three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court revived a trespass claim against a fracking company. The claim, which was previously defeated by summary judgment, could return to the trial court for determination of its merits. In 2015, plaintiffs filed suit against the fracking company alleging trespass and conversion. Plaintiffs claim the company used … Continue reading

PA federal judge strikes down municipal fracking ban

Late last month, a federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania struck down a township’s ban on fracking activities. The ban, which prevented the injection of fracking waste into a well underlying the town, was preempted by state and federal law, said the judge. The judge ruled that the ban was preempted by the federal Safe Drinking … Continue reading

Delaware River Basin Commission to consider fracking ban

On Wednesday, the Delaware River Basin Commission voted to begin the rule making process that could lead to a fracking ban in parts of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The Commission, which regulates the Delaware River watershed and is comprised of members from each of the above states and a representative from the … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Legislative Activity Update – Five Pennsylvania Bills

The following bill, which has been introduced previously, has been acted upon by the General Assembly since the last Legislative Activity Update: PA House Bill 1391 – Amendments to Oil and Gas Lease Act Sponsor: Garth D. Everett (Republican – parts of Lycoming and Union counties [northern Pennsylvania]) Overview: Adds definitions for “lessee,” “lessor,” “operator,” “production unit,” … Continue reading

Legislative Activity Update – Two Pennsylvania Bills

The following bill, which had been introduced previously, has been acted upon by the General Assembly since the last Legislative Activity Update: PA House Bill 1327 – Amendments to Fiscal Code Sponsor: Michael Peifer (Republican – parts of Pike and Wayne Counties [northeast Pennsylvania]) Overview: Original bill (Printer’s Number 1788) was unrelated to oil and gas. … Continue reading

Legislative Activity Update – 7 Pennsylvania Bills and 1 Resolution

The following two bills, which had been introduced previously, have been acted upon by the General Assembly since the last Legislative Activity Update: PA House Bill 1325 – Amendments to Second Class Township Code Regarding Storm Water Facilities Sponsor: Mark Mustio (Republican – part of Allegheny County [Pittsburgh]) Overview: Allows board of supervisors to enact … Continue reading

Legislative Activity Update – Three Pennsylvania Bills

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 748 was signed into law as Act 55 on October 30, 2015, by Governor Tom Wolf.  In the House of Representatives, two new bills were introduced. PA Senate Bill 748 – Certified Escort Vehicles for “Super Loads” Sponsor: David G. Argall (Republican – Schuylkill County and part of Berks County [outside Reading]) … Continue reading

Legislative Activity Update – Two Pennsylvania Bills

The following two already-introduced bills have been acted upon by the General Assembly since our last Update: PA House Bill 965 – Amendments to Regulatory Review Act Sponsor: Robert W. Godshall (Republican – part of Montgomery County [outside Philadelphia]) Overview: Amends Regulatory Review Act (Act of Jun. 25, 1982, P.L. 633, No. 181) to require … Continue reading

Yale study in PA calms fears about contamination of water resources from hydraulic-fracturing activities

A recent Yale study debunked fears about contamination of Pennsylvania’s water resources by hydraulic fracking. The three-year-long study revealed that hydraulic fracturing is not the cause of contaminated drinking water in the Marcellus Shale. Instead, the study traced the contamination to above-surface activities. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Yale researchers analyzed 64 samples of groundwater gathered … 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

Pennsylvania judge dismisses tortious interference suit against environmental companies and local residents

A Pennsylvania state court judge recently dismissed a Butler County fracking lawsuit. In a unique twist, the landowning plaintiffs in this case brought suit against two environmental groups–the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Clean Air Council–and local residents. Plaintiffs in this case are a Butler County developer and various local landowners who have oil and gas … Continue reading

Legislative Activity Update: Four Pennsylvania Bills

The following two already-introduced bills have been acted upon by the General Assembly since our last Update: PA Senate Bill 875 – Treated Mine Water Act Sponsor: Camera Bartolotta (Greene County and parts of Beaver and Washington counties [southwestern Pennsylvania]) Overview: Provides immunity from liability to mine operators for use of treated mine water used in oil … Continue reading

Legislative Update: Ohio Bill Regarding Emergency Response Plans

OH Senate Bill 166 – Horizontal wells-emergency response plans Sponsor: Lou Gentile (Democrat – 30th Senate District) Overview: Requires owners of horizontal wells to develop and implement emergency response plans in order to respond to emergencies at the surface location of their wells that threaten public health or safety. The plan must establish response actions to be … Continue reading

US Coast Guard proposes rules allowing fracking waste water to be transported by barge

The disposal of large volumes of wastewater produced during shale gas extraction has posed challenges for companies, regulators, and communities, especially in the Marcellus Shale region.In 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard received two requests for approval for the bulk shipment of wastewater resulting from hydraulic fracturing operations in Pennsylvania and the northern Appalachia area. On October … Continue reading

New York advocacy group sues Department of Health for disclosure of documents related to hydraulic fracturing

On September 13, 2013, the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, an advocacy group based in Finger Lakes, New York, sued the New York Department of Health (NYDOH), seeking the disclosure of documents related to the state’s review of hydraulic fracturing, which has been banned in New York since 2008.The NYDOH is conducting an ongoing review … Continue reading

Pennsylvania Legislators Propose New Statutes Relating to Forced Pooling and Royalty Payments

Since it was signed by the Governor in July 2013, Pennsylvania’s new law allowing drillers to pool leased properties into one unit for horizontal wells, as long as the oil and gas contracts in effect do not prohibit these combinations, has met with much criticism. See prior blog dated September 10, 2013, “Pennsylvania State Representative … Continue reading

Methane in water wells in Franklin Township, Pennsylvania not from natural gas drilling activity

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the results of its 16-month investigation into the alleged methane contamination of three private water wells in Franklin Township, Susquehanna County, where the Marcellus Shale formation is being developed by hydraulic fracturing. The DEP tested water from the three water wells and compared it with the chemical … Continue reading

Scientists rebut study linking hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination

Last year, hydrologic geologist Tom Myers’ conclusion that hydraulic fracturing of deep shale gas wells can be expected to impact shallow groundwater aquifers in less than ten years received much publicity, especially among environmental groups who had funded the work. Myers’ findings appeared in an article entitled, “Potential Contaminant Pathways from Hydraulically Fractured Shale to … 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

Pennsylvania’s Proposed Emergency Drinking Water Support Fund

Pennsylvania State Senator Jay Costa (Democrat, Forest Hills) has proposed a bill which would place a $10 surcharge on permits issued by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for hydraulic fracturing activities in the Marcellus Shale. This surcharge would be transferred to the bill-created Emergency Drinking Water Support Fund. The fund would be “used … Continue reading

NYDEC Publishes Revised Proposed High-Volume Fracking Regulations

On Thursday, November 29, 2012, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) published revised proposed regulations relating to high-volume hydraulic fracturing (wells using more than 300,000 gallons of water as the base fluid). The NYDEC developed these revisions and additions after receiving more than 66,000 public comments (most against hydraulic fracturing) on the original … Continue reading

Niagara Falls issues ban on hydraulic fracturing

On March 5, 2012, the City Council of Niagara Falls, New York, unanimously approved an ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing in Niagara Falls and the storage, transfer, treatment or disposal of water generated from natural gas exploration and production activities in the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Ironically, the Marcellus Shale does not extend under the City … Continue reading