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Study Linking Earthquakes to Fracing May Shake the Ballots

On October 15, seismologist Paul A. Friberg published an article in the journal Seismological Research Letters that links earthquakes to hydraulic fracturing. The report was published less than a month before today’s vote, in which several communities will make decisions affecting the burgeoning domestic energy business. The article links hydraulic fracturing, not only to the … Continue Reading

Illinois Releases New Draft of Hydraulic Fracturing Rules

Last Friday, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) released its highly anticipated revised hydraulic fracturing rules. The IDNR had taken the past year to “re-tool” its oil and gas regulations, and took into consideration more than 31,000 comments. The revisions attempt to address many of the issues typically raised by environmentalists in opposition to … Continue Reading

Efforts to Avoid Ballot Measures on Fracking Fail in Colorado

Faced with the potential for two anti-fracking measures on the Colorado ballot this November, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper and state lawmakers have been working for weeks to develop a legislative compromise to avoid putting the issues to a popular vote.  Hickenlooper’s proposal would have placed some additional restrictions on fracking, but would have clarified that … Continue Reading

New York State Assembly Passes Three-Year Fracking Moratorium – Senate Vote Unlikely

On Monday, the New York State Assembly voted 89-34 in favor of a three-year statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.  But with the legislative session ending in just a few days, the Senate appears unlikely to take up the bill, rendering the vote largely symbolic. Speaker Sheldon Silver emphasized the need for caution in exploring New … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Tells EPA Its Policy on Aggregating Sources for Clean Air Act Permitting Violates EPA’s Own Regulations

Following a ruling by the D.C. Circuit, EPA may no longer consider interrelatedness in determining adjacency when making source determination decisions in its Title V or New Source Review permitting decisions under the Clean Air Act.  The decision, which vacates EPA’s policy directive Applicability of the Summit Decision to EPA Title V and NSR Source … Continue Reading

Anti-Fracking Bill Defeated in California Senate

Yesterday, the California State Senate rejected a bill that would have put a moratorium on fracking until a state-commissioned study determined that it was safe.  The bill, Senate Bill 1132, would have prohibited all “well stimulation treatments”—including fracking and acid well stimulation—while requiring the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency to commission an “independent scientific … Continue Reading

Denton (TX) City Council Enacts Drilling Moratorium and Will Consider Possible Ban on Fracking

Amidst complaints from citizens, the Denton, Texas city council unanimously enacted a drilling moratorium, which will be in effect until September 9th. The ordinance, which was adopted by the council at its May 6th meeting, stated that “…increased drilling in close proximity to residential and other protected uses…have resulted in negative and deleterious effects on … Continue Reading

Department of Transportation Issues Order Requiring Rail Carriers to Notify States of Crude Shipments

In response to recent derailments of trains transporting crude, the Department of Transportation issued an emergency order pursuant to its regulatory authority over the transportation of hazardous materials.  The order applies to all carriers that transport a single train within the United States carrying 1 million gallons or more of UN 1267, Petroleum crude oil, … Continue Reading

Debates Continue on Pennsylvania and Ohio Severance Tax Proposals

Pennsylvania legislators continue to debate a severance tax proposal announced late last year, and previously discussed on this blog.  Under that severance tax proposal, the commonwealth’s system of impact fees would be replaced with a 4.9% severance tax.  A bipartisan group of legislators announced that proposal, and it appears that support for a severance tax … Continue Reading

Alaska Passes North Slope Pipeline Liquefied Natural Gas Bill

On Monday, Alaska’s legislature approved Senator Sean Parnell’s plan to join four energy companies in moving ahead on plans to build infrastructure to transport and market 35 trillion cubic feet of North Slope gas to be shipped by an 800-mile pipeline to a liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) export plant. In approving Senate Bill 138, lawmakers … Continue Reading

Colorado House Advances Bill Requiring Study of Fracking Impact Along Colorado Front Range

The Colorado House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday that would require a study of the health impact of fracking in Colorado.  The bill, House Bill 1297, passed with all Democratic Representatives, and one Republican Representative from Grand Junction, Colorado, in favor. If signed into law, the bill would direct the Colorado Department of Public … Continue Reading

Illinois Voters Defeat Local Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing after Controversial Campaign

On Tuesday, Voters in Johnson County, Illinois rejected a local referendum designed to pressure county commissioners into enacting a ban on hydraulic fracturing. Specifically, the referendum—technically a non-binding recommendation to the county commissioners—asked: “Shall the people’s right to local self-government be asserted by Johnson County to ban corporate fracking as a violation of their rights … Continue Reading

Protestors Call for California Fracking Ban

Thousands of protestors converged on Sacramento on Saturday, urging Gov. Jerry Brown to institute a moratorium on fracking in California.  The demonstration is believed to be the largest anti-fracking rally in state history. The protest was organized largely in response to Gov. Brown’s decision to support the development of California’s Monterey Shale formation.  Said a … Continue Reading

Los Angeles City Council Clears Way for Fracking Ban

A vote taken by the Los Angeles City Council last week could set the stage for a city-wide ban on hydraulic fracturing.  During its session on Friday, February 28, the ten-member council unanimously approved a motion to draft ordinances prohibiting all natural gas “well stimulation,” including fracking, acidization, and gravel packing, within the city limits.  … Continue Reading

Ohio House Ways and Means Committee Receives Testimony on Substitute House Bill 375

            On February 12, 2014, Ohio House Ways and Means Committee Vice-Chair Rep. Gary Scherer offered a substitute House Bill 375 to the Ways and Means Committee, including significant amendments from the prior version of House Bill 375 previously reported here. The Ohio Legislative Service Commission has published a Substitute Bill Comparative Synopsis, which describes … Continue Reading

Broomfield Fracking Ban Upheld

On February 27, 2014, Colorado District Court Judge Chris Melonakis ruled that Broomfield’s five-year fracking ban would remain in effect.  The ban passed by a mere twenty votes.   The results of the November 2014 election were challenged by Broomfield Balanced Energy Coalition.  The Coalition argued that the election was flawed because mistakes were made in … Continue Reading

Colorado Group Submits Another Anti-Fracking Statewide Ballot Petition For Consideration

Colorado voters may have yet another anti-fracking statewide ballot initiative to consider this November.  The proposed constitutional amendment that was submitted to the Colorado Legislative Council on February 21 would insert language into Colorado’s Constitution that would allow local governments in Colorado to place restrictions on the time, place and method of oil and gas … Continue Reading

Nebraska Court Stalls Keystone XL Pipeline, Declares Governor’s Approval Unconstitutional

On Wednesday, a Nebraska trial court struck down a state law allowing Governor Dave Heineman’s to approve the proposed route for TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL Pipeline. The decision comes just weeks after the State Department released the final environmental impact statement for the pipeline, clearing the way for federal approval of the project. In a … Continue Reading

New Exploration Technologies Give Rise to Unclaimed Property Compliance Issues

The recent expansion of oil and natural gas exploration and production activities in previously unprofitable areas has brought increased attention to issues surrounding compliance with state unclaimed property laws.  Producers should be mindful of the powerful incentives that exist for states and third-party auditors to aggressively pursue those who are out of compliance with the … Continue Reading

White House Proposes Sustainable Shale Gas Growth Zones; Praises Role of Natural Gas in U.S. Energy Policy

A fact-sheet released by the White House following Tuesday’s State of the Union Address announced the Obama Administration’s intent to work with Congress, State and local governments to create Sustainable Shale Gas Growth Zones. According to the fact-sheet, these zones would help ensure that “shale gas is developed in a safe, responsible way” that helps … Continue Reading

Colorado Activist Group Opposed to Hydraulic Fracturing Proposes Ballot Initiative To Give Municipalities Broad Regulatory Authority At Expense of State Power

Co-Author:  Paul Enockson Last week, the Colorado Community Rights Network, an activist group that opposes hydraulic fracturing, filed a proposed ballot initiative to amend the Colorado Constitution to give municipalities extraordinarily broad authority to regulate for-profit businesses operating within their jurisdiction.  The proposal grew out of anti-fracking activists’ frustration with current state law, which prohibits … Continue Reading

Ohio Ways and Means Committee Receives Testimony on Horizontal Drilling Tax Proposal

            On January 8 and 15, 2014 the Ohio House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee received testimony on House Bill 375 (“HB 375” or the “Bill”).  The Bill, previously reported on this blog, would introduce a new tax on owners of horizontal oil and natural gas wells through which oil or natural gas are … Continue Reading
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