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

Another FERC Commissioner to Leave

On April 28, 2017, the Associated Press reported that Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Colette Honorable will not seek reappointment after her term expires in June. Honorable’s departure leaves FERC with just one commissioner, far short of the three commissioners needed for a quorum. Without… Read more

States Sue over Valuation Rule Delay

On April 26, 2017, the states of California and New Mexico filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that challenges the Bureau of Land Management’s February 22, 2017 decision to delay the effective date of the “Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal… Read more

Texas Supreme Court Clarifies RRC Jurisdiction

On April 28, 2017, the Texas Supreme Court delivered an opinion in Forest Oil Corp. v. El Rucio Land and Cattle Co., Inc., No. 14-0979 (Tex. 2017). One of the principal questions in the case concerned whether the Railroad Commission has exclusive or primary jurisdiction over claims of environmental… Read more

NPS Approval of Seismic Surveys Upheld

On April 27, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida upheld the National Parks Service’s approval of Burnett Oil Co., Inc.’s Plan of Operations to conduct a three-dimensional seismic geophysical survey using vibroseis technology within the Big Cypress National Preserve in… Read more

NETL Researchers Examine Low-frequency Seismicity and Reservoir Stimulation

On April 25, 2017, the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory issued a press release detailing the findings of a recent study that analyzed the impact of low-frequency seismicity on oil and natural gas production from unconventional shales. According to NETL, data collected as… Read more

Trump to Sign Order on National Monuments

On April 24, 2017, the New York Times reported that President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order today that orders a review of the national monument designations made within the last 20 years. The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the president to designate “objects of historic or… Read more

Duke Researchers Release Report on Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing

On April 24, 2017, researchers from Duke University released “The Geochemistry of Naturally Occurring Methane and Saline Groundwater in an Area of Unconventional Shale Gas Development” – a peer reviewed study that examined the effects of hydraulic fracturing activities on water quality in West… Read more

EPA to Delay and Reconsider Methane Rule

On April 18, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a delay and reconsideration of “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed and Modified Sources” a final rule published by the Obama Administration that finalized new emissions regulations applicable to… Read more

USGS Estimates Bossier and Haynesville Formations

On April 13, 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that the Bossier and Haynesville formations onshore and within state waters along the Gulf Coast contain an estimated 4.0 billion barrels of oil, 304.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 1.9 billion barrels of natural gas liquids. The… Read more

Trump Administration Means Widespread Changes for Oil and Gas

On April 17, 2017, The American Oil and Gas Reporter published “Trump Administration Initiating Major Changes” – an Harris, Finley & Bogle, P.C. analysis of the new administration’s executive and regulatory initiatives affecting the oil and natural gas industry. The American Oil and Gas… Read more

EPA Requests Feedback on Expendable Regulations

On April 10, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a request for comment for publication in the Federal Register. The request for comment seeks public comments “on regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification.” Through comments to EPA, operators may… Read more

Court Rejects Challenge to DRBC Moratorium

On March 24, 2017, The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissed a landowner challenge to the Delaware River Basin Commission’s de facto moratorium on unconventional development activities in the eastern third of Pennsylvania. In 2010, the DRBC placed a moratorium on… Read more

Dimock, PA. Verdict Overturned

On March 31, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania overturned a $4.24 million verdict related to alleged contamination from unconventional development activities. The Scranton, Pennsylvania jury found in favor of nine plaintiffs who claim that an operator’s drilling… Read more