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Landowners, energy companies file briefs seeking to capture Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling in historic hydraulic fracking case

Over the past few months, new developments have taken place in the historic Pennsylvania Supreme Court case involving landowners’ trespass and conversion claims against an energy company based on hydraulic fracking activities. Back in November 2018, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania agreed to hear the case to consider whether the rule of capture applies to hydraulic fracking. Since November, both parties, as well as numerous amici curiae, have filed briefs.… 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 for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, requesting that the government reconsider its decision to allow a planning permission for fracking at the Plumpton Site.

Javid has refused to reconsider the government’s position and PNRAG has now issued formal legal proceedings at … Continue Reading

UK Task Force Approves Fracking

On December 15, 2015, in a two-page report, a group of experts coined the “UK Task Force” issued their “Final Conclusions and Recommendations,” approving the safety of further drilling and exploration for shale gas in the United Kingdom. Based on a year of research into the potential “positive and negative” impacts of shale exploration and drilling, some of the highlights from the results include:

  • “Shale gas can be produced safely and usefully” in the UK in accord with industry-leading standards.
  • “The risk from shale gas to the local environment or to public health is no greater than that
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USGS says frackquakes a “red herring”

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Susan Hough recently commented that the link between fracking and earthquakes is “a red herring.”  The statement was issued in conjunction with the release of a study by the USGS finding that deep underground injection to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas operations has had a long and vaunted history in Oklahoma—well before the recent fracking boom.

Simultaneously, the issue of induced earthquakes in Oklahoma is increasingly gaining attention among insurers of policyholders large and small.  A recent report projects that the risk of a large seismic event near the Cushing, Oklahoma oil storage hub—the … Continue Reading

State regulators issue guidance for induced seismicity policy

On Monday, September 28, 2015 the StatesFirst Induced Seismicity by Injection Work Group (ISWG) published a report: Potential Injection-Induced Seismicity Associated with Oil & Gas Development. The ISWG is comprised of members from state regulatory agencies that oversee underground injection wells in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. Its recommendations reflect trends in recent induced seismicity regulatory developments.  Various technical advisors in the oil and gas industry contributed to the report as well. Increased data collection and sharing is a “key message” of the report:

Given the geologic diversity across … Continue Reading

Alberta energy regulator restricts temporary diversion licenses due to drought

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has taken steps to restrict surface water withdrawals under previously-issued temporary diversion licenses (TDLs) due to hot, dry weather and low flow surface water conditions across Alberta. The restrictions are intended to protect aquatic ecosystems at risk due to drought.

TDLs are commonly used by oil and gas operators and their contractors as authority to source water for hydraulic fracturing and other oilfield operations. In Alberta, the province owns all of the water and a license from the AER is required by the oil and gas industry to divert and use the water.

The AER … Continue Reading

Berkeley Lab researchers quell frackquake fears, FEMA discusses induced seismicity

On July 9 the California Council on Science and Technology in collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, released an expanded independent scientific report on hydraulic fracturing discussing anthropogenic earthquakes. Berkeley Lab researchers found “no recorded cases of induced seismicity” in California. The report concludes that to date there have been no known seismic events linked to disposal of produced water by underground injection in California.

The findings were part of a wide-ranging research study of hydraulic fracturing commissioned by the California legislature after passage of SB 4, the state’s first fracking regulatory legislation that became effective in 2013. The … Continue Reading

End of comment period for federal fracking rule quickly approaching

Last month, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) extended the time period for public comments concerning its proposed rule on hydraulic fracturing wastewater. The end of the comment period is quickly approaching. The public has until July 17th to submit comments on the proposed rule. The proposed rule, Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category, would strengthen the requirements on oil and gas operators.

Under the proposed rule, oil and gas operators would be required to treat wastewater before it reaches public wastewater facilities. According to the EPA, fracking wastewater should be treated … Continue Reading