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Category Archives: Litigation

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Longmont Fracking Ban Struck Down

Posted in Litigation
On July 24th, Boulder County District Judge Dolores Mallard struck down the Longmont, Colorado ban on hydraulic fracturing. The ban, which was passed in November 2013, amended the city’s charter to prohibit hydraulic fracturing. After some failed negotiations with the state, a suit challenging the law was brought a month later by the Colorado Oil … Continue Reading

Texas Jury Awards Nearly $3 Million to Family Alleging Health Problems from Natural Gas Wells

Posted in Litigation
An April 22nd verdict by a Texas jury awarded $2.9 million to a family that alleged natural gas wells drilled on adjacent property by Aruba Petroleum Inc. caused significant health and economic difficulties. The jury’s five to one verdict found that although Aruba’s actions were not abnormal for the area, the company did take intentional … Continue Reading

Hydraulic Fracturing: State Regulatory Roundup Vol. 33

Posted in Key Documents, Litigation, Regulatory
Fracking Insider Readers: We are pleased to bring you Volume 33 of our State Regulatory Roundup, including updates in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Virginia. As we explained in earlier volumes, we designed the Roundup to provide quick overviews on state regulatory activity. If you have any questions on any of these summaries, please do not hesitate … Continue Reading

Heartland vs. Northeast on Federal Regulation of Methane Emissions from Oil & Gas Operations

Posted in Litigation, Regulatory
In a May 12th letter, thirteen state attorneys general warned the EPA not to negotiate with seven Northeastern states on the subject of potential federal regulation of methane emissions from oil and gas operations, including those employing hydraulic fracturing. The states argue in their letter that the threatened lawsuit is without merit, and that any … Continue Reading

Hydraulic Fracturing: State Regulatory Roundup Vol. 12

Posted in Litigation, Regulatory
Fracking Insider Readers: We are pleased to bring you Volume 12 of our State Regulatory Roundup, including updates on Maryland, Colorado, Texas and a notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency, filed by multiple states. As we explained in earlier volumes, we designed the Roundup to provide quick overviews on state regulatory activity. … Continue Reading

New York District Court Bounces NEPA Challenge – For Now

Posted in Litigation
A federal court in New York dismissed a challenge alleging a failure by the Delaware River Basin Commission (“DRBC” or “Commission”), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and others* to conduct National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) analysis for proposed regulations that would allow fracking in the basin.  This decision was rendered in three combined cases, … Continue Reading

CBD Serves Notice

Posted in Litigation
On August 28, 2012, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) served an Endangered Species Act sixty-day notice on the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior indicating its intent to sue.   The allegation?  “[F]ailing to reinitiate consultation regarding its oil and gas … Continue Reading

Trends In Natural Gas Torts

Posted in Litigation
While many tort actions have been filed across the country alleging health, drinking water, and other damages from fracking operations – including earthquakes in Arkansas – there have been almost no decisions as yet in terms of liability.  The key issue in these cases is one of causation, both proximate and actual, and the burden … Continue Reading

The Sackett Decision and Its Implications for Hydraulic Fracturing

Posted in Litigation, Regulatory
With stunning alacrity, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion [PDF] today in Sackett v. EPA (roughly two months since oral argument), resolutely and unanimously striking down EPA’s position that the Clean Water Act (CWA) does not provide pre-enforcement judicial review of compliance orders. This blog has covered the Sackett case and explored the potential … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Seeks To Bring Common Sense to Air Emissions Regulations for the Oil and Gas Industry

Posted in Litigation, Regulatory
Events are unfolding rapidly in the regulatory arena for the natural gas and oil industry. Even though hydraulic fracturing has been used for decades, and is but one stage in the drilling process, the controversy over “fracking” has prompted swift and broad regulatory movement—both at the federal and state levels. Federal and state agencies are … Continue Reading

Is Shale Gas a “Mineral” – Why The Answer To This Question May Determine How and Where Drilling Happens in Pennsylvania

Posted in Litigation
Bubbling up through the state courts in Pennsylvania is a legal dispute with huge implications for the ongoing natural gas boom in that state. Hanging in the balance is the validity of hundreds (if not thousands) of leases entered into by gas companies under the assumption that included in the lease rights is the ability … Continue Reading

Fracking – Key Legal Trends For Companies to Watch

Posted in Legislative, Litigation, Regulatory
As the pace of natural gas and oil drilling in unconventional plays increases, the industry continues to be faced with a broad suite of environmentally-related legal concerns. These include multiple regulatory initiatives both at the Federal and State levels (including EPA’s and DOE’s ongoing studies) and federal legislation (including the Breathe and Frac Acts). As … Continue Reading

Municipal Fracking Ban Ruled Unlawful

Posted in Litigation
A West Virginia state judge ruled Friday that Morgantown’s municipal ban on fracking violates state law [PDF].  Morgantown, in enacting the ban, had argued that its home rule authority granted it the ability to stop drilling within its jurisdiction. In granting summary judgment to Northeast Energy, the court held that the comprehensive legislative and regulatory scheme … Continue Reading

Industry Faces Multi-Layered Complexities in Municipal Fracking Bans

Posted in Litigation
Michele Gryga contributed to this post A seemingly well-organized grass roots environmental campaign is successfully pushing local municipalities to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Led by environmental organizations, like the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, most ordinance fracking bans are premised on the municipality’s home rule authority. Home rule refers to the authority a state legislature … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Case To Be Heard Next Term May Have Big Impacts For Fracking

Posted in Litigation, Regulatory
The United States Supreme Court has accepted certiorari (cert) in a case that may have ramifications for the Agency’s ongoing initiative to use the Safe Drinking Water Act’s (SDWA) emergency authority to regulate fracking. The issue in Sackett v. EPA, which the Court agreed last week to hear next term, centers on whether the Sacketts—who … Continue Reading

Judge Temporarily Stays EPA’s Case Against Range Resources

Posted in Litigation
Yesterday, Senior United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, Royal Ferguson, issued a sua sponte stay of EPA’s lawsuit against Range Resources, related to allegations of fracking contamination in the Fort Worth area of the Barnett shale.  The stay is in effect pending resolution of parallel proceedings before the 5th Circuit Court of … Continue Reading
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