Environmental Groups Challenge TCEQ Permits

On July 20, 2017, four environmental groups filed five lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging that EPA failed to prevent the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from granting improper major source permits under the Clean Air Act to several petroleum… Read more

Interior to Increase Oil and Gas Leasing

On July 6, 2017, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed Order No. 3354, which is designed to ensure that DOI consistently holds quarterly oil and gas lease sales as required by the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920. Although the MLA requires quarterly lease sales “for each state… Read more

Trump to Nominate Two for FERC Openings

On June 28, 2017, the Trump Administration announced plans to nominate Richard Glick as a commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Glick currently serves as Democratic general counsel on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and would replace Democratic Commissioner… Read more

Dallas Court of Appeals Reverses $535 Million Verdict

On July 18, 2017, the Dallas Court of Appeals overturned a $535 million jury verdict related to breach of joint enterprise and breach of fiduciary duty causes of action. The plaintiff and defendant are pipeline companies that jointly investigated the economic feasibility of an oil pipeline that… Read more

Denbury Seeks Supreme Court Relief

On July 12, 2017, Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, LLC filed a petition for writ of mandamus with the Texas Supreme Court, seeking immediate possession of a contested pipeline easement in Jefferson County, Texas. The District Court denied Denbury’s request for a temporary restraining order, finding… Read more

HFB Publishes Texas Supreme Court Update

On July 17, 2017, the American Oil and Gas Reporter published “Texas Supreme Court Decision Clarifies Surface Estate Rights,” a Harris, Finley & Bogle analysis of three recent Texas Supreme Court decisions, Lightning Oil, Forest Oil, and Red Deer Resources. In Lightning Oil, the Texas Supreme… Read more

BLM Postpones Waste Prevention Rule

On June 15, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, published a notice of postponement of compliance dates in the Federal Register for the final rule “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation.” Immediately after BLM published the… Read more

EPA Files Suit Against Colorado Operator

On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed suit against a Colorado operator in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Specifically, the suit alleges that the operator failed to ensure that vapor control systems on 86 batteries of storage tanks were sufficiently… Read more

EPA Proposes to Re-evaluate "Waters of the United States" Definition

On June 27, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule for publication in the Federal Register that would rescind the current definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act and re-codify the pre-2015 definition… Read more

EPA's Stay of Methane Rule Vacated

On July 3, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s stay of the final rulemaking “Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources.” The rulemaking amended the new source performance standards under the… Read more

Ohio Marketable Title Act Remains a Work in Progress

The Ohio Supreme Court’s 2016 watershed decision in Corban vs. Chesapeake Exploration, LLC closed the door to certain surface owners claiming vested title under Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act. That decision simultaneously appeared to create a new opportunity for certain owners to establish mineral… Read more

Ohio EPA Reportedly Fines, FERC Limits Construction of Rover Pipeline

On May 9, 2017, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency fined the builder of the Rover natural gas pipeline $430,000 for multiple water and air pollution violations. According to the Ohio EPA, construction of the pipeline has resulted in 18 incidents… Read more

Drilling Permit Upheld by Commonwealth Court

On June 12, 2017, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed an Environmental Hearing Board decision that upheld the issuance of a drilling permit to an operator in Warren, Pennsylvania. The operator received a drilling permit for an unconventional slant well that would bottom-hole underneath a… Read more

FERC Opens Investigation into Tuscarawas River Horizontal Drilling

On June 1, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced an investigation into the alleged use of petroleum hydrocarbon constituents during horizontal directional drilling activities on the Rover Pipeline Project in Ohio. The announcement of an investigation follows a May 10, 2017 letter… Read more

Senate Fails to Pass Resolution on Waste Reduction Rule

On May 10, 2017, a Senate resolution that would nullify the Bureau of Land Management’s “Methane and Waste Reduction Rule” failed a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate 49-51. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can nullify recent federal regulations by passing a joint resolution signed by… Read more

CSB to Investigate Colorado Explosion

On May 5, 2017, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board announced that it is sending an investigative team to examine the site of an oil and gas related explosion in Firestone, Colorado that resulted in two fatalities and one serious injury. According to the press release, “preliminary information indicates… Read more

Trump Formally Nominates Two FERC Commissioners

On May 8, 2017, the White House announced that President Donald J. Trump will nominate Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson as commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Chatterjee is an energy policy advisor and liaison to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for… Read more

PADEP Penalty Updates

In April 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reached three penalty settlements with operators, which totaled nearly $1 million in penalty collections. On April 10, 2017, PADEP announced a $400,000 settlement with an operator for air quality violations at a facility in… Read more