PADEP Air Quality Committee Reviews Draft Air Permits

On December 8, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee discussed new draft general permits designed to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations in the Commonwealth. The draft permits contain significant leak… Read more

PADEP Settles Enforcement Actions for $3.5 Million

On December 7, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection assessed an oil and natural gas operator $3.5 million in civil penalties to settle statutory and regulatory violations at 10 well sites and six pipeline locations. The violations occurred in Washington and Greene Counties… Read more

PADEP Appeals Chapter 78a Injunction to PA. Supreme Court

On December 6, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection requested that the state’s Supreme Court overturn a Commonwealth Court Order enjoining parts of Chapter 78a. Chapter 78a contains the Commonwealth’s new environmental performance standards for unconventional oil and… Read more

18 States Challenge USFWS Rulemaking

On November 29, 2016, 18 states filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama to challenge two final rules published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on February 11, 2016. The states allege that the final rulemakings exceed the authority given to USFWS in the… Read more

AP Reports Decrease in Oklahoma Seismicity

On December 2, 2016, the Associated Press released a statistical analysis showing that seismic activity in Oklahoma has dropped significantly since May 28, 2016, when the state ordered Class II-D Underground Injection Control wells to decrease injection volumes by 40%. Specifically, the AP reported… Read more

USEPA Reaches $8.2 Million Settlement with ND Operator

On December 1, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with a North Dakota operator to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. The settlement resolves USEPA’s allegations that the operator failed to adequately design, operate… Read more

Wyoming to Hold Public Meeting on Pavillion Investigation

On November 23, 2016, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission announced that they will host a public meeting and open house regarding the Pavillion Area Groundwater Investigation. At the meeting, WODEQ and WOGCC will provide information… Read more

EPA Approves Additional UIC Wells in Warren County, PA

On October 31, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved three Class II-D Underground Injection Control permits for wells in Columbus Township, Warren County, Pennsylvania. If approved by state authorities, the three injection wells will supplement two existing wells owned by Bear… Read more

U.S. Now an Exporter of Natural Gas

On November 28, 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that the United States is projected to have exported more natural gas than it imported for the month of November. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, this is the first time the U.S. has been a net exporter of natural gas in… Read more

Class Action Alleges Damages from Induced Seismicity

On November 17, 2016, a class action lawsuit alleging damages from induced seismicity was filed in Oklahoma state court.  The lawsuit, filed in Pawnee County, alleges that Oklahoma injection wells caused an induced seismic event on September 3, 2016, resulting in damages to the plaintiff class.  … Read more

Fall 2016 Regulatory Agenda Released

Last week, the U.S. General Services Administration released the Fall 2016 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.  The Unified Agenda is released twice yearly, and lists the status of major rule proposals, including those with the potential to affect oil and natural gas… Read more

USGS Estimates Size of Wolfcamp

On November 15, 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the Wolfcamp shale in the Permian Basin contains 20 billion barrels of oil, 16 trillion cubic feet of associated natural gas, and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.  The USGS estimate makes the Wolfcamp shale the largest… Read more

Railroad Commission Amends Rule 15

On November 15, 2016, the Railroad Commission of Texas announced final amendments to Rule 15 (“Surface Equipment Removal Requirements and Inactive Wells”), which will take effect January 1, 2017.  Generally, Rule 15 requires that operators who assume responsibility for an inactive oil or natural… Read more

Western Energy Alliance, IPAA Challenge BLM Methane Regulations

On November 15, 2016, the Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, challenging the Bureau of Land Management's final rule; "Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resources… Read more

Commissioner Sitton Joins CISR

On November 15, 2016, Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton announced that he will join the Bureau of Economic Geology Center for Integrated Seismicity Research ("CISR").  According to the press announcement, CISR conducts "fundamental and applied research to better understand both naturally… Read more