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Category Archives: Energy

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The Dimock Saga Continues – Judge Vacates Award

Posted in Energy
For over six years, individuals living in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, have been asserting claims against Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation related to alleged damage to their water supplies purportedly caused by two unconventional gas wells. On March 10, 2016, a jury rendered a verdict in favor of the individuals, awarding them $4.24 million. … Continue Reading

Any Month is One Month for Strippers

Posted in Energy
In its decision of Snyder Brothers, Inc. v. Public Utility Comm’n, 1175 C.D. 2015 (Mar. 29, 2017), the Commonwealth Court was asked to determine the meaning of the term “any” as it applied to stripper wells and the payment of impact fees.  A stripper well is defined as an “unconventional gas well incapable of producing… Continue Reading

White House Approves Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted in Energy, Environment
The White House issued a permit today approving Keystone XL, “bringing the mammoth oil pipeline a step closer to fruition more than a year after former President Barack Obama blocked its construction,” writes The Wall Street Journal. The paper notes that the pipeline, which will carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil a day once completed,… Continue Reading

Ohio Court Construes the Term “Holder” under the 2006 DMA to include the Heirs and Devisees of the Record Owner

Posted in Energy
Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals recently interpreted the term “holder” under the 2006 version of the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (R.C. § 5301.56) (“2006 DMA”) and held that the term should be construed broadly to include the heirs and devisees of the record owner of the severed mineral interest that succeed to the severed… Continue Reading

Ohio Court Rules Landmen Need to be Licensed Real Estate Brokers to Receive Compensation

Posted in Energy
Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals recently held that landmen are subject to the requirements of R.C. Chapter 4735 requiring real estate broker’s licenses in order to be entitled to compensation for brokering deals with landowners on behalf of oil and gas companies. In Dundics v. Eric Petroleum Corp., plaintiff landmen alleged that they were… Continue Reading

Bohlen v. Anadarko

Posted in Energy
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Ohio heard oral arguments in Bohlen v. Anadarko.  The Bohlens entered into a lease with Alliance in 2006 for a one year primary term.  Paragraph 3 of the lease contained a delay rental provision: This lease, however, shall become null and void and all rights of either party… Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Holds WOTUS Case Pending Supreme Court Review

Posted in Energy, Environment
On January 25, 2017, the Sixth Circuit granted a motion to hold in abeyance litigation regarding U.S. EPA’s rule defining “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) pending the Supreme Court’s review of whether the Sixth Circuit has jurisdiction to hear the case. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to settle the jurisdictional issue on January 13,… Continue Reading

U.S. E.P.A. Agrees to Review Drilling Waste Regulations to Settle Suit

Posted in Energy, Environment
In May of 2016, environmental groups sued the U.S. E.P.A., alleging that the agency failed to review and revise its regulations and state waste management plan guidelines regarding waste materials from oil and gas production as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq.  On December 28, 2016, the court… Continue Reading

New Pipelines to Increase Ohio Natural Gas Takeaway Capacity

Posted in Energy
Ohio producers will soon be able to transport more natural gas out of the state.  In a recent article, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) summarized several pipeline projects that are in various stages of development.  According to the EIA, these projects could add an additional 6.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of takeaway… Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Dismisses Oil and Gas Leasing Complaint against MWCD

Posted in Energy
In a recent decision, Harper v. Muskingum Watershed Conservancy Dist., the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a qui tam action brought under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729, against the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD).  MWCD received property through a deed from the United States government.  The deed contained restrictions providing that the… Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Ohio Declines to Answer Certified Questions on Whether Ohio Follows the ‘At The Well’ Rule for Post-Production Costs

Posted in Energy
On November 2nd, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued its decision in Lutz v. Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C.   In its opinion, the Court declined to answer a certified question from the Northern District of Ohio regarding whether Ohio follows the “at the well” rule or the “marketable product” theory with respect to post-production costs, leaving it up to… Continue Reading

Pressure Grows to Amend Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act

Posted in Energy
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently upheld a lower court decision finding that Atlas Resources, LLC (“Atlas”) qualified as a statutory employer under Section 302(a) of the Workers Compensation Act (the “Act”).  As a statutory employer, Atlas is entitled to immunity from the wrongful death suit brought by the estate of a rig worker who… Continue Reading

Ohio Appellate Court Rejects Landowner’s Challenge to Pipeline

Posted in Energy
In Sunoco Pipeline L.P. v. Teter, Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals rejected a landowner challenge to Sunoco’s acquisition of an easement through eminent domain to construct its Mariner East 2 Pipeline.  The landowner contested Sunoco’s exercise of eminent domain on the basis that pure propane and pure butane (i.e., the liquids to be transported… Continue Reading

BLM Issues Notice of Auction for Oil/Gas Leases in Wayne National Forest

Posted in Energy, Environment
On October 17, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management released a Notice of Competitive Oil and Gas Internet-Based Lease Sale for approximately 1,600 acres of the Wayne National Forest in Monroe, Noble and Washington Counties, Ohio. The notice of the lease sale was issued shortly after the BLM issued a final Environmental Assessment and associated… Continue Reading

Regulation of Shale Drilling Recently Changed to Comply with Act 13

Posted in Energy
On Saturday, October 8, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection enacted its new regulations covering unconventional natural gas well pad development.  The new regulations include area of review requirements to protect public resources (which may apply to wells located near schools, playgrounds and parks), stronger water supply restoration standards, the development and maintenance of… Continue Reading

PA Supreme Court Invalidates More of Act 13

Posted in Energy
With the support of its recently elected justices, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in an opinion issued on September 28, 2016, held four provisions of Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act (also known as Act 13) to be unconstitutional.  In addressing the severability of various provisions of Act 13, and emboldened by its 2014 plurality decision (which… Continue Reading

USFWS Proposes Endangered Listing for Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

Posted in Energy, Environment
On September 22, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The primary reason for the Service’s proposed listing is the 91 percent decline in the bumble bee’s population abundance and distribution since the late 1990s, according… Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Ohio Holds 1989 DMA Is Not Self Executing

Posted in Energy
On September 15, 2016, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued a number of decisions concerning the application of the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (R.C. 5301.56) (DMA). In the lead case, Corban v. Chesapeake Exploration, L.L.C., et al., 2016-Ohio-5796 , the Court held that:  The 1989 version of the DMA was not self-executing (i.e., did not automatically transfer ownership… Continue Reading

Ohio Oil Production Falls While Gas Production Rises

Posted in Energy
On September 1st, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) released production totals for the second quarter of 2016. The report shows that natural gas production from shale wells increased by over 50% from the second quarter of 2015, while oil production fell over 18% from that same period. Click here to access ODNR’s second… Continue Reading