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Options to Help Oklahoma Alleviate Its Emerging Oilfield Water Crisis

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has restricted injection well activity over a combined zone of nearly 10,000 square miles—approximately the size of Massachusetts (Exhibit 1). In Central Oklahoma, the OCC seeks to reduce water injection into the Arbuckle Formation by at least 300,000 bpd. Furthermore, the OCC now requires new injection well applications to go through … Continue Reading

EQT Wins a Temporary Victory, but the Future of Oil and Gas Operations in Fayette County, West Virginia, Is Still Undecided

EQT Corp. won a temporary victory in its continuing effort to defend against the potential shutdown of its 200 oil and gas wells and one wastewater injection well in Fayette County, West Virginia, after the District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia issued a preliminary injunction on February 8 enjoining the enforcement of … 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

Youngstown, Ohio, Contractor Sentenced to 28 Months in Prison for Wastewater Dumping Scheme

We previously reported on the federal criminal and State of Ohio enforcement actions arising from the release of tens of thousands of gallons of hydraulic fracturing waste into a Youngstown, Ohio, area tributary by Hard Rock Excavating (Hard Rock) during late 2012 and early 2013.  On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Nugent handed Hard … Continue Reading

Drought Conditions Cause Eagle Ford Operators to Find Wastewater Recycling Solutions

Amidst what the National Drought Mitigation Center has classified as abnormal to severe drought conditions, operators in Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale formation are taking steps to increase their ability to recycle wastewater generated during hydraulic fracturing operations. Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business, estimates that … Continue Reading

EPA Releases Revised Guidance on Use of Diesel Fuels in Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

On February 11, 2014, the EPA released its long awaited revised permitting guidance for wells that use diesel fuels during hydraulic fracturing activities. The guidance details the EPA’s view on how to implement provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which amended the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) definition of “underground injection” to specifically … Continue Reading

Natural Gas Power Saves Texas Water, May Reduce Drought Risk

A recent study by researchers Bridget Scanlon, Ian Duncan and Robert C. Reedy of the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas-Austin found that the state of Texas consumed less water as a result of using natural gas-fired power plants than it would have had it generated the same amount of electricity using … 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

More Companies Offering Water Recycling Services

As previously reported here and here, oil and gas companies are seeking innovative and economical solutions to decrease their reliance on fresh water in hydraulic fracturing operations. Although obstacles remain, water recycling may prove to be one such economical solution.  Water recycling during hydraulic fracturing operations still faces practical obstacles because alternatives like injecting the water … Continue Reading

Michigan to Implement New Fracking Rules in 2014

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is developing new rules for hydraulic fracturing that would add protections for water resources and require additional chemical data submissions from drilling companies.  In a press release issued on October 22, 2013, the Department stated that the proposed rules focus on four key areas:  water withdrawal assessment and … 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

Environmental Groups Set Stage for Litigation Challenging BLM’s Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Rulemaking with Claim That BLM Is Violating NEPA

Eighteen environmental organizations – lead by the Sierra Club – are claiming that the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) will violate the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) if it finalizes its proposed rulemaking related to hydraulic fracturing on federal lands without preparing a full-scale Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”). Under NEPA, an EIS is required if the proposed … Continue Reading

Hydraulic Fracturing Divides U.S. Congress

Lawmakers are heavily divided when it comes to the regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Currently, there are twelve bills in Congress that address the regulation of oil and natural gas operations (four in the Senate and eight in the House). On one side are legislators who believe the federal government needs to play a larger role … 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

New Study Posits Correlation between Extraction/Injection Wells and Seismic Events in Eagle Ford Shale

A new study assesses potential correlations between small-magnitude seismic events with fluid extraction and injection in the area of the Eagle Ford Shale of south-central Texas.  The article –titled Two-year survey of earthquakes and injection/production wells in the Eagle Ford Shale, Texas, prior to the MW4.8 20 October 2011 earthquake – was published online this … Continue Reading

Public Comment Period for Proposed Federal Fracking Regulations Draws to a Close

The public comment period for new federal regulations regarding fracking on public lands—the first substantive update to the rules in three decades—ended on Friday with over 1 million submissions from both critics and advocates evaluating the proposed rules. The proposed rules have garnered substantial attention, with demonstrators sporting both pro- and anti-fracking messages turning out … Continue Reading

From the Ohio River to the Marcellus and Utica Hydraulic Fracturing Sites – Company to Build Pipeline for Water Transport

As oil and gas companies across the country face increasing pressure to decrease their use of fresh water for fracking operations, new and innovative solutions are sought. Some companies are turning to the recycling of frack water (see our previous discussion here); others are building pipelines to ensure that there is a reliable and cost-effective … Continue Reading

Federal Government Study Confirms Hydraulic Fracturing Does Not Contaminate Drinking Water

            The Department of Energy (“DOE”), after a year-long study at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, has concluded that there is no evidence that chemicals used during the hydraulic fracturing process have contaminated drinking water aquifers adjacent to the drilling site.  According to DOE geologist Richard Hammack, the study found that hydraulic fracturing fluids remained … Continue Reading

Recycling of Frack Water Likely to Grow

In Texas, where hydraulic fracturing operations use up more than fifty percent of water use in certain counties, recycling of frack water could significantly impact the stressed resource. To date, only a small fraction of the water used for hydraulic fracturing is currently recycled.  However, several factors indicate that recycling of frack water will likely … 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

U.S. EPA Announces Peer Review Panel For Hydraulic Fracturing Study

On Monday, March 25, the USEPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) announced that it has formed an independent body of experts to peer-review the agency’s ongoing hydraulic fracturing research.    Specifically, the Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel (Panel) will review USEPA’s Congressionally-mandated draft report from its national study on any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources.  That … 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
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