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

PA federal judge vacates controversial fracking verdict

In a win for industry, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Friday vacated a controversial fracking verdict in the highly publicized case Ely v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. The verdict was against the great weight of the evidence and shaded by the plaintiffs’ attorney’s missteps, said the court in its decision.

Last March, a Pennsylvania jury awarded the plaintiffs in the case $4.24 million for loss of the use and enjoyment of their property, namely their water supply, which injury the plaintiffs alleged stemmed from the defendant’s fracking operations in the surrounding area. On Friday, the court set aside … Continue Reading

Trump tells US Interior to reconsider fracking rules

President Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order with broad implications for the oil and gas industry. Among its provisions, the order requires the US Department of the Interior to reanalyze its fracking regulations.

The executive order, entitled Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, announces a shift in American environmental policy. It establishes as paramount in the new administration domestic energy production, economic growth, and American job creation. It requires that the executive branch review its regulations, policies, procedures, and the like to determine their effect on domestic energy growth. Where appropriate, it requires officials to suspend, revise, or … Continue Reading

PA DEP addresses possible link between local earthquakes and fracking

Pennsylvania’s environmental regulators last month addressed a potential link between a string of small local earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing in the Utica Shale. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a report in February analyzing together four small-scale earthquakes, which occurred in April 2016 in Lawrence County, and fracking operations in the surrounding area.

The relevant well pad, the report states, is located within five miles of most of the reported epicenters of the earthquakes. Fracking began at the pad almost a month before seismic activity was recorded in nearby townships.

Says the DEP in the report, “There is … Continue Reading

PA Department of Environmental Protection’s negotiating power fracked

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) may see new challenges in negotiating settlements with purported violators of Pennsylvania’s Clean Stream Law.  A recent Pennsylvania appellate court ruled that ongoing penalties are impermissible for a single waterway leak from fracking activities under the state’s Clean Streams Law.  The Clean Stream Law punishes violators for pollution released into state waters.

In EQT Production Co. v. DEP, a natural gas production company sued the DEP for interpreting the Clean Stream Law to allow the DEP the ability to impose a minimum $1.2 million penalty for a leak from a gas well pad that … 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

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 the High Court. … Continue Reading

Researchers zero in on how fracking can cause earthquakes

A new academic study reveals two ways hydraulic fracturing by oil and gas operators can cause earthquakes in Alberta, Canada. Researchers at the University of Calgary’s Department of Geoscience have discovered that tremors induced by hydraulic fracturing can occur through pore pressure increases and by stress changes.  The study “Fault Activation by Hydraulic Fracturing” has been published in Science, one of the world’s leading peer‑reviewed academic journals.

The study has been described as revealing an “exquisitely detailed picture” of the timing and dynamics of seismic events in an area about 30 kilometers west of the town of Fox Creek, Alberta. … Continue Reading

Green light for more UK exploratory shale gas wells

Nottinghamshire County Council’s Planning and Licensing Committee (the Committee) has approved plans to drill the county’s first exploratory shale gas wells. The approval which permits drilling two wells to explore the rock geology near Misson was approved by a majority of seven votes to four.

Island Gas Ltd (IGas) submitted its planning application for the works in October 2015. The Committee’s decision on 15 November 2016, comes after an extensive period of consultation involving over 40 organisations and 2,600 individual representations. The chair of the Committee, John Wilkinson, commented that ultimately, the Committee were satisfied that IGas had demonstrated they … Continue Reading

Community Group challenges UK Government’s fracking decision

As reported in our blog post dated 7 October 2016, the Government recently ‎overturned Lancashire County Council’s refusal of planning permission for fracking at a site near Little Plumpton in Lancashire.

The appeal was granted by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 6 October 2016 allowing the appellant, Cuadrilla, to carry out drilling and hydraulic fracturing at the site; a decision on a second site at Roseacre Wood was deferred so as to allow more time to consider the scheme’s traffic impacts.

Now, community group ‘Preston New Road Action Group’ is seeking to challenge the Government’s … Continue Reading

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