Archives: Groundwater

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Pennsylvania Jury Awards $4.2 Million in Groundwater Contamination Case

On Thursday, a federal jury in Pennsylvania ordered Cabot Oil & Gas to pay more than $4.2 million in damages to two Pennsylvania families who sued in 2009 alleging that the Texas-based company’s drilling operations contaminated local groundwater. The long-running dispute – which originally featured more than 40 plaintiffs before most settled their claims – … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court to Decide Whether Groundwater Estate Should Be Granted Accommodation Status Similar to Mineral Estate

On October 14, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court heard argument in a case styled Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC v. The City of Lubbock, which dealt with the question of whether the accommodation doctrine should apply when a groundwater estate has been severed from the surface estate. Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC owns a ranch in West … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Set to Hear Case Involving Subsurface Trespass Claim

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to hear a suit that could determine whether landowners in the state have a cause of action for trespass when water from underground injection wells migrates onto their property.  The Court’s decision in Environmental Processing Systems LC v. FPL Farming Ltd. No. 12-0905 could prompt oil and gas … Continue Reading

ODNR Confirms Hydraulic Fracturing in Ohio Has Not Contaminated Groundwater; Plans to Propose Rules Authorizing Impoundments

A recent article published in the Akron Beacon Journal indicates (click here) that of the 183 water-well complaints received by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) between 2010 and mid-October 2013, “only six water supplies were impacted by drilling over the nearly four-year period.”  By phone, Mark Bruce, a spokesman from the Division of … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Drillers May Soon Face Tightened Environmental Regulations

Oil and gas drillers in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale formation may soon find themselves subject to more stringent environmental protection standards under regulations proposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“the Department”).  The Department announced on August 27, 2013 that the proposed regulations were approved by the state’s Environmental Quality Board.  The proposal now moves … Continue Reading

Texas Court Allows Defamation Claim Against Landowner to Proceed

On Monday, Texas’s Second District Court of Appeals partially affirmed a District Court order allowing Range Resources Corporation’s (“Range”) defamation and business disparagement claims against a landowner to proceed.  A copy of the court’s opinion is available here. This is the latest development in a case that gained notoriety when a video purporting to show … Continue Reading

Texas Railroad Commission Amends Fracturing Fluid Recycling Rules to Encourage Water Conservation

Under rules adopted by the Texas Railroad Commission (Commission) on March 26, 2013, effective April 15, 2013, Texas hydraulic fracturing operators may recycle fracturing fluids on their own leased or owned land used for fracturing activities or may transfer the fluids for recycling on the land of another operator without a permit. According to the … Continue Reading

Industry, Environmentalists Agree On Voluntary Hydraulic Fracturing Standards

Yesterday a consortium of energy companies, environmental organizations, and philanthropic foundations announced that they have collaborated to form an organization — the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) — that will provide an independent, third-party certification process for shale developers.  The CSSD is expected to focus on certifying operations in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions, chiefly … Continue Reading

Texas Agencies Announce Rules to Streamline Permitting and Ease Requirements for Oil and Gas Well Operators

In recent weeks, both the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and Texas Railroad Commission (TRRC) have proposed rules that would ease requirements for operators. On February 8, 2013, the TCEQ announced that it would propose a rule to streamline the process for authorizing air emissions plans for oil and gas well sites.  The rule … Continue Reading

Federal Charges Filed for Ohio Drilling Waste Release; Ohio Legislation Proposes Increased Penalties

Early last week, we covered the response of Ohio regulators to an alleged release of hydraulic fracturing waste into a Youngstown, Ohio area tributary by Hard Rock Excavating (Hard Rock), an affiliate of oil and gas player D&L Energy Group (D&L).  In addition to the state regulatory enforcement measures against Hard Rock and D&L, the U.S. … Continue Reading

Discharge of Drilling Waste in Ohio Triggers Civil and Criminal Enforcement Actions; Heightens Scrutiny of State Regulatory Practices

A release of approximately 40,000 gallons of oil and gas operations waste into a Youngstown, Ohio area storm drain flowing into the Mahoning River is igniting a call for tighter regulatory oversight and more transparent emergency response practices by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). ODNR investigators … Continue Reading

Maryland Governor Proposes $1.5 Million Funding For Hydraulic Fracturing Study

As we have discussed in prior posts, Maryland has in place a de facto moratorium on shale exploration and drilling.  Responding to inquiries about drilling into Marcellus shale formations in western Maryland, in 2011 Governor Martin O’Malley issued an executive order directing state agencies to conduct a comprehensive study of hydraulic fracturing’s short-term, long-term, and cumulative … Continue Reading

EPA Extends Comment Period On Pavillion Groundwater Revised Report

In 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) began investigating claims of groundwater contamination in private drinking water wells in and around Pavillion, Wyoming.  In a Draft Report issued in December of 2011, the EPA reported that samples taken from an aquifer near a Pavillion gas field contained chemicals associated with hydraulic fracturing fluids.  Samples … Continue Reading

Colorado Adopts Groundwater and Setback Drilling Rules, Launches Emissions Study

This week the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission conducted three days of public hearings on proposed revisions to its oil and gas well rules to address concerns posed by increased hydraulic fracturing activity.  As part of those hearings, the Commission took several key actions that will affect future shale drilling operations statewide. First, on … Continue Reading

Leaked New York Department of Health Report: Hydraulic Fracturing Can Be Safely Conducted

A previously confidential New York state agency report analyzing the human health impact of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) operations released to a limited number of media outlets last Thursday concludes that HVHF can be performed safely under the state’s proposed regulations. The leaked February 2012 health assessment is a supplement to the comprehensive Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), a study … Continue Reading

Legislators In Ohio General Assembly Propose Numerous New Shale Bills As Close Of Session Nears

The Ohio General Assembly closes its two-year term later this month.  The waning days of the term, falling between the November election and the end of the year, are known as the “lame-duck” session.  During this session, legislators have introduced a flurry of bills relating to hydraulic fracturing and shale gas drilling.   Many of these … Continue Reading

Research On Flowback Recycling, Wastewater Treatment Commencing In Ohio

As shale drilling sites continue coming online in the Utica Shale region, the demand for alternative means of managing the wastes produced by drilling operations has never been stronger.  In response to that demand, significant studies are beginning in Ohio that are designed to tackle these issues.  Battelle Memorial Institute recently announced that it is … Continue Reading

New York DEC Releases Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations, Extends Rulemaking Process

Yesterday the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) filed with the New York Department of State a revised draft of its proposed regulations governing hydraulic fracturing in the state.  According to reporting by the New York Daily News and other outlets, DEC faced a deadline of yesterday by which to file the draft rules in order to … Continue Reading

Activist Groups Lobby For Local Control of Ohio Shale Operations and Waste Disposal

Throughout Ohio, environmental groups and community activists increasingly are pressing local units of government to enact local “bans” of hydraulic fracturing and deep injection disposal wells that can accept well flowback.  For example, on August 2 the Cincinnati City Council voted to bar injection wells associated with the disposal of waste from hydraulic fracturing; Yellow … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Concludes Dimock Groundwater Is Safe

Last week U.S. EPA Region 3 announced that it had completed its regimen of groundwater testing for private drinking water wells of Dimock, Pennsylvania, and found no evidence of contamination that would justify further action.  In a July 25 press release, Region 3 stated that it was stopping groundwater testing for Dimock residents and would … Continue Reading

API-ANGA Study Critiques EPA Plan for Studying Hydraulic Fracturing’s Effects on Drinking Water

A recently-released study questions key portions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to study the potential relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water contamination.   The study, released on July 10, 2012 by the Battelle Memorial Institute and commissioned by America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API), was designed … Continue Reading

Maryland Enacts Legislation On Liability for Damage Caused By Oil And Gas Exploration

On May 22, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed House Bill 1123, which addresses the state legal standards for civil liability for damages caused by exploration and production activity in deep shale deposits in the Marcellus Shale formation.  The Marcellus Shale territory stretches into significant portions of the western parts of Maryland.  The Maryland legislature passed HB … Continue Reading

USEPA Region 3: Data Confirms Dimock, PA Groundwater Safe

On May 11, 2012, USEPA Region 3 released additional and expanded test results from samples of well water in Dimock, Pennsylvania.  Consistent with its three sets of prior findings, which we previously discussed, Region 3 found no samples exceeding federal drinking water standards for any of a wide range of contaminants.  Roy Seneca, speaking for … Continue Reading