Archives: Hydraulic Fracturing

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Independent Oil and Gas Producers Defeat Federal Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

Wyoming U.S. District Court Declares Bureau of Land Management’s Hydraulic Fracturing Rule Unlawful On June 21, 2016, United States District Judge Scott Skavdahl granted BakerHostetler’s petition for review of final agency action and declared the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) hydraulic fracturing rule unlawful. The court’s judgment sets aside BLM’s hydraulic fracturing rule, and America’s … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Township Moves to Revive an Ordinance Banning Disposal of Wastewater from Hydraulic Fracturing Activities, After Federal Court Ruling Invalidated It

On October 26, 2015, Grant Township, Pennsylvania, filed a Motion for Reconsideration of  Western District of Pennsylvania District Court Magistrate Judge Susan Baxter’s October 14, 2015, ruling invalidating several elements of the township’s ordinance (the “Ordinance”). On June 3, 2014, Grant Township adopted the Ordinance, which attempted to establish a “Community Bill of Rights for … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Blocking Enforcement of New BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rules

On September 30, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming granted a motion for a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) recently issued hydraulic fracturing rule. BLM issued the rule in March, attempting to exert jurisdiction over hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. But the … Continue Reading

State Supreme Court Imposes Strict Limitations on Secretary of State’s Authority to Block Anti-Fracking Ballot Measures, Granting Oil and Gas Interests a Limited Victory

This week the Ohio Supreme Court denied three Ohio counties’ attempts to ban high-volume hydraulic fracking. But that denial was procedural, not substantive, so the victory is limited to the instance at hand and the counties are free to try again. Earlier this summer, citizens of Medina, Fulton, and Athens counties petitioned their respective Boards … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Challenges Ohio’s Disqualification of Local Anti-Frac Ballot Initiatives

Residents in three Ohio counties have sued the state after Secretary of State Jon Husted invalidated three ballot proposals to ban hydraulic fracturing projects in Fulton, Medina, and Athens counties. The bans, if passed, would become part of the respective county charters. Husted based his decision on the Ohio Supreme Court’s February ruling in State … Continue Reading

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Ruling That New York State’s Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing Did Not Extend the Primary Terms of Oil and Gas Leases

New York’s 2010 moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, culminating in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s formal ban of the practice in his state on December 17, 2014, made many large waves in the political, legal, and public arenas, the residual effects of which have yet to ebb completely. The latest installment came on August 19, 2015, when the … Continue Reading

Increased Earthquake Activity Prompts Oklahoma to Reduce Wastewater Injection Rates in Limited Number of Wells

Regulators in Oklahoma have issued new restrictions on underground injection control wells in the vicinity of the Arbuckle formation – a 122 square mile area that recently experienced a cluster of minor earthquake activity, citing ongoing concerns over the increased incidence of seismicity. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s (OCC) Oil and Gas Conservation Division announced the … Continue Reading

Illinois Appellate Court Concludes No Irreparable Harm From Implementation of New Hydraulic Fracturing Rules

The nascent Illinois shale oil and gas industry won a preliminary victory in the courtroom last week. The Appellate Court of Illinois for the Fifth District affirmed the denial of a preliminary injunction against the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR’s) new hydraulic fracturing regulations. Although the DNR’s regulations must still survive a decision on … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Bill Promotes Using Mine Water in Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

Authored by: Anthony Ponikvar, 2015 Summer Associate The process of hydraulic fracturing requires millions of gallons of water. Currently, much of this water is pulled from freshwater sources; however, a recent bill in Pennsylvania making its way through the state legislature aims to change that. Senate Bill 875, authored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Greene, Washington), … Continue Reading

EPA Releases Study of Hydraulic Fracturing’s Potential Impacts on Drinking Water

Authored by: Amanda Tate, 2015 Summer Associate On June 4, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an external review draft of a report assessing the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water. The report, “Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources,” is the … Continue Reading

Wyoming Federal District Court Stays BLM’s Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

On June 23, a coalition of industry, states, and tribal interests convinced a federal judge to stay the effective date of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) hydraulic fracturing rule. The stay demonstrates the first step for the industry in holding the BLM accountable to the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the first … Continue Reading

Texas Town Repeals Voter-Approved Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

Just seven months after voters in Denton, Texas, approved a measure banning hydraulic fracturing within city limits, the Denton City Council voted 6 to 1 to repeal the ban. Council members called the move a “strategic repeal” after plaintiffs in two pending lawsuits seeking to invalidate the ban amended their complaints to invoke a recently … Continue Reading

Texas Operator Pushes Back on Seismic Claims at Railroad Commission Hearing

Earlier this week, the Texas Railroad Commission held its first “show cause” hearing under the rule amendments adopted last October to address issues related to disposal wells located in potential high-risk seismic areas. Under the amendments, the Railroad Commission has the authority to modify, suspend, or terminate a disposal well permit if it is determined … Continue Reading

North Carolina Adds a New Square to the Patchwork Quilt of State-by-State Treatment of Hydraulic Fracturing

New York State garnered worldwide media attention on December 17, 2014, when Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced after six years of study that it was instating a complete ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing statewide. Despite the interest this action created, it was certainly not the first example of how states vary in their handling of … Continue Reading

Oklahoma Follows Texas’ Lead in Prohibiting Local Hydraulic Fracturing Bans

In the wake of Texas’ recent “ban on banning hydraulic fracturing,” Oklahoma lawmakers have passed a similar law—SB 809—prohibiting municipal governments from regulating oil and gas drilling at the local level. The bill now heads to Governor Mary Fallin, who is expected to sign it into law. Oklahoma enacted SB 809 prohibiting local drilling regulations—one … Continue Reading

Frack 2.0: Refracing Could Enable a Second Wave of Production Growth in the Bakken and Eagle Ford

Operators will likely refrac more oil and gas wells this year and further accelerate such activity in 2016. The reason is simple: substantial bang for CAPEX bucks. A recent study by engineers from SPE and Baker Hughes estimates that Bakken oil wells can be refraced for $1.8 million apiece – roughly ¼ of what it … Continue Reading

New Law in Texas Prohibits Local Municipalities from Banning Hydraulic Fracturing

On Monday, May 18, 2015, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott signed House Bill 40 into law, prohibiting cities, towns, and local municipalities in Texas from enacting bans on fracing. The new law provides that “oil and gas operations [are] subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of [the] state” and preempts the authority of other political subdivisions to … Continue Reading

Independent Producers Seek To Halt Federal Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

BakerHostetler Files Injunction in Federal Court; Motion Follows Firm’s Initial Lawsuit Challenging Meritless Rule On May 15, 2015, BakerHostetler filed a request for preliminary injunction against the final rule the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. The motion was filed in the United States District Court … Continue Reading

Southern Methodist University Study Suggests Activities Related to Hydraulic Fracturing Responsible for Uptick in Texas Earthquakes

In an article published late last month in the journal Nature Communications, researchers at Southern Methodist University pointed to hydraulic fracturing activities as the probable cause of an increase in earthquakes near Azle, Texas, based on a study they had conducted in the area. The researchers’ conclusion conflicts with the stance of the U.S. Geological … Continue Reading

State of North Dakota Intervenes in Wyoming’s and Independent Producers’ Challenge to Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

The state of North Dakota moved to intervene yesterday in the state of Wyoming’s challenge to the Bureau of Land Management’s new hydraulic fracturing regulations. North Dakota—like Wyoming—asserts that the hydraulic fracturing regulations exceed the BLM’s statutory authority and contradict existing federal law—impermissibly encroaching on the states’ regulatory authority. North Dakota becomes the second state to … Continue Reading

Hydraulic Fracturing Moratorium Lifted in North Carolina

Last week, North Carolina became the 34th state to allow hydraulic fracturing. Years in the making, new rules developed by the state’s Mining and Energy Commission after receiving over 200,000 public comments went into effect last Tuesday allowing the state to issue drilling permits to companies to begin shale gas exploration and extraction. The new … Continue Reading

State of Wyoming Joins Independent Producers In Opposition To Federal Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint today in Wyoming federal district court asking the court to set aside recently finalized federal regulations related to hydraulic fracturing on federal and public lands. Wyoming’s complaint requests the court set aside regulations the United States Department of the Interior announced last Friday, the same relief sought … Continue Reading

Independent Producers Lead Legal Challenge Against BLM’s Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

After a regulatory review process lasting more than three years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued today a final rule purporting to govern hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. Given BLM’s failure to correct flaws in earlier versions of the rule – flaws that were addressed expressly in public comments responsive to the … Continue Reading

U.S. Geological Survey Releases Publications on Historical Hydraulic Fracturing Trends

On Tuesday, January 27, the U.S. Geological Survey released two new publications highlighting historical hydraulic fracturing trends. These publications are the first of their kind: until now, there has not been comprehensive, published, publicly available information regarding the extent, location, and character of hydraulic fracturing in the United States. The publications are a scientific investigation … Continue Reading
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