Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Now Protected as Endangered Species

On March 21, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected a request by housing developers, pesticide makers, farmers, utilities, and oil and natural gas companies to delay protections for the rusty patched bumble bee. A final rule protecting the species as endangered was published on January… Read more

BNA Posts HFB Insights on Risk Management Program Changes

On March 21, 2017, Bloomberg BNA published “EPA Changes to the Risk Management Program,” an HFB article discussing recent amendments to EPA’s risk management regulations. The amendments to the risk management program have the potential to affect a wide array of industries, including midstream oil… Read more

Another Induced Seismicity Suit Filed in OK

On March 3, 2017, the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit in the District Court of the Pawnee Nation, alleging damages from induced seismic events, including damages resulting from a September 3, 2016 magnitude-5.8 seismic event that occurred near two wastewater disposal wells. Specifically,… Read more

Early 2017 RRC Data Points to Industry Rebound

The monthly statistics published by the Texas Railroad Commission suggest that a noticeable industry rebound began in November of 2016. In December of 2016 alone, the RRC issued nearly 300 more permits than it issued in December of 2015. Increased operator activity was also noticeable in January… Read more

BLM to Withdraw Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

On March 15, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, stated in a legal filing that it will withdraw its contested final rule that would have updated the Bureau’s regulations applicable to hydraulic fracturing operations on Federal and Indian Lands. The rule was… Read more

U.S. Silica Holdings to Double Output

On February 28, 2017, Bloomberg reported that U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. is expected to double its total supply of silica over the next 12-18 months. Silica, the price of which has increased 20% since October, is used by many operators as a proppant in hydraulic fracturing operations. Bloomberg … Read more

President Trump to Nominate 3, Restore Quorum to FERC

On March 9, 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Donald J. Trump will nominate Neil Chatterjee, Kevin McIntyre, and Robert Powelson as commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The five-commissioner panel has only two sitting commissioners and has been without a… Read more

Texas Supreme Court Finds Contamination Claims Barred by Limitations

On February 24, 2017, the Supreme Court of Texas found that a plaintiff’s oil-field contamination claims are barred by the state’s four-year statute of limitations because the claims were brought more than four years after the alleged spills and releases occurred. The plaintiff in the case alleged… Read more

RRC to Open Comment Period on Draft Chapter 1 Amendments

On March 17, 2017, the Texas Railroad Commission will open a public comment period on a proposal to simultaneously repeal and adopt several subchapters in 16 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 1. According to the RRC memorandum accompanying the rule proposal, RRC staff propose to repeal and replace… Read more

PA Wells, Gas Production Increase

On March 2, 2017, the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office released its 2016 4th Quarter Natural Gas Production Report. The IFO found that production of natural gas increased 6.8% in Pennsylvania in 2016. Pennsylvania operators drilled just 504 horizontal wells in 2016, the lowest number since… Read more

USGS Releases PA Test Results

On March 6, 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey released the test results of 75 private drinking water wells in Lycoming County, in north-central Pennsylvania. USGS found that water from most of the sampled wells contain concentrations of radon that exceed a proposed, non-binding health standard for… Read more

Colorado Report Finds Low Risk of Health Effects

In February 2017, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an “Assessment of Potential Public Health Effects from Oil and Gas Operations in Colorado.” The Health Assessment Report concluded that, based on currently available air monitoring data, “the risk of harmful health… Read more

EPA Withdraws ICR for Oil and Gas Operators

On March 2, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued notice that the agency is withdrawing its requests that owners and operators in the oil and natural gas industry provide information on equipment and emissions at existing oil and natural gas facilities. Upon publication in the… Read more

Ohio EPA Finalizes New Compressor Station GPS

On March 2, 2017, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency finalized several general permits relating to natural gas compressor stations and similar facilities. The general permits are designed for facilities typically found near gathering lines leading to interstate transmission networks. In order… Read more

USGS Releases 2017 Induced Seismicity Forecast

On March 1, 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey released an updated hazard map that forecasts the likelihood of induced seismic events for the coming year. This is the second year that USGS has published an induced seismicity forecast. Previously, the agency only projected naturally occurring seismic… Read more

Trump Administration Orders Review of Waters of the U.S. Rule

On February 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review the final “Waters of the U.S.” rulemaking published on June 29, 2015. The “Waters of the U.S.” rulemaking defines the scope of… Read more

PADEP Assesses Operator $1.2 Million Penalty

On February 27, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced that it agreed to a $1.2 million civil penalty with an operator to settle violations related to a 2012 impoundment leak. According to the PADEP news release, in September 2012, testing of five private water… Read more

USGS to Release Updated Hazard Maps

On February 23, 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that it will release updated maps detailing the potential of natural and induced seismic events on March 1, 2017. The 2017 maps mark the second year that USGS has projected both natural and induced seismic risks. USGS previously stated that… Read more