Energy & Environmental Law Blog

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Tag Archives: Hydraulic Fracturing

10th Circuit Court of Appeals Dismisses BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule Litigation

Posted in Energy
Last year, we posted about litigation concerning the Bureau of Land Management’s controversial rule purporting to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands.  After a federal court found that the rule exceeded the scope of the BLM’s regulatory authority, appeals were filed with 10th District Court of Appeals.  Earlier this year, the BLM announced… 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

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

U.S. EPA Finalizes Rule Prohibiting Oil/Gas Wastewater Discharges to POTWs

Posted in Energy, Environment
On June 27, 2016 U.S. EPA finalized a regulation under the Clean Water Act that prohibits the discharge of wastewater from certain oil and gas extraction facilities to POTWs. Specifically, the rule applies to onshore extraction from shale and/or tight geologic formations – referred to as unconventional oil and gas resources. EPA determined that current… Continue Reading

NY Finalizes Environmental Impact Statement Prohibiting HF

Posted in Energy
Yesterday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued its findings on the use of high-volume hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas operations in the state.  It concluded:  “In the end, there are no feasible or prudent alternatives that would adequately avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts and that address the scientific uncertainties and… Continue Reading

EPA: Hydraulic Fracturing Has Not Led to Widespread Impacts to Drinking Water

Posted in Energy
An EPA study released on June 4th, 2015 concludes that hydraulic fracturing activities “have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources.” On this question, the study is reported to be “the most complete compilation of scientific data to date, including over 950 sources of information, published papers, numerous technical reports, information from… Continue Reading

Oklahoma Bars Local Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing

Posted in Energy
Following a similar move in Texas, last week, Oklahoma passed a bill restricting local regulation of hydraulic fracturing, reports the Associated Press. The bill’s aim, according to its supporters, is to “reaffir[m] the three-member Oklahoma Corporation Commission as the regulator of the oil and gas industry and prevents a patchwork of inconsistent regulations across the… Continue Reading

National Zero Discharge Pretreatment Limit Proposed for Hydraulic Fracturing Oil and Gas Extraction Wastewater Discharged to POTWs

Posted in Energy, Environment
On April 7, 2015, USEPA proposed a zero discharge Clean Water Act pretreatment standard for wastewater from existing or new Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction (UOG) facilities discharged to a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW).  Read about the impact of this proposal in our Client Alert.… Continue Reading

Rule Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal Lands Released

Posted in Energy
On March 20, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Interior released the final rule governing hydraulic fracturing on public and Indian lands.  According to a department press release, key components of the rule, which takes effect in 90 days, include: • Provisions for ensuring the protection of groundwater supplies by requiring a validation of well integrity and… Continue Reading

U.S. Senate Votes to Maintain Hydraulic Fracturing Exemption from UIC Program

Posted in Energy, Environment
On January 28, 2015, the U.S. Senate voted against (35-63) Amendment 48 to modify the definition of “underground injection” under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program.  The amendment would have repealed a provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that exempted hydraulic fracturing from regulation under the federal UIC program.… Continue Reading

Environmentalists Sue U.S. EPA Over Disclosure of HF Chemical Data

Posted in Energy
A coalition of environmental groups have sued the U.S. EPA to compel the agency to require the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. More from Bloomberg: The nine environmental and open-government groups bringing the suit want the EPA to require that oil and gas companies join coal mines, electric utilities and other industries in reporting deadly… Continue Reading

NY Farmers Face Disappointment in Wake of State’s HF Ban

Posted in Energy
By way of an update to our earlier post on New York’s hydraulic fracturing ban, the Associated Press profiles farmers who lost the opportunity to develop their mineral rights: While environmental groups are doing a victory dance over New York’s decision to ban fracking, farmers such as apple grower David Johnson are grieving for dashed hopes and… Continue Reading

Hydraulic Fracturing Among Most Significant Innovations of the 21st Century?

Posted in Energy
Is hydraulic fracturing one of the most significant innovations of the early 21st century? In an op-ed, Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal argues that it is: Fracking has now upended energy markets, pummeled petrodictators, confounded OPEC, forged deeper North American economic ties, slashed U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions to their lowest level since 1995, and… Continue Reading

New York Plans to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing

Posted in Energy
The New York Times reports on Governor Cuomo’s announcement today that New York would ban hydraulic fracturing: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks, ending years of uncertainty over the disputed method of natural gas extraction. State officials… Continue Reading

Hydraulic Fracturing Cleared in Stray Gas Claims

Posted in Energy
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that according to a new study, defective cement casing, and not hydraulic fracturing, is likely responsible for methane from gas wells leaking into nearby water wells. "We see this as good news for the long term," said lead author Tom Darrah, an Ohio State University scientist whose research was published Monday… Continue Reading

[Update] EPA to Consider Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Disclosure Requirements

Posted in Energy
On May 9, 2014, U.S. EPA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking under Section 8 of the Toxic Substances Control Act regarding the disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. The notice explains that EPA is requesting comment on the information that should be obtained or disclosed and the mechanism – regulatory, voluntary,… Continue Reading

Frac Focus Report Issued for Comment

Posted in Energy
The Department of Energy’s SEAB Task Force has issued a final draft of its report on FracFocus 2.0 for comment.  According to their website:  "This report presents the findings and recommendations for the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) Task Force on FracFocus. This Task Force report builds upon and extends the 2011 SEAB Subcommittee… Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Guidance on Diesel Use and HF Activities

Posted in Energy, Environment
U.S. EPA has released revised guidance materials on the use of diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing activities.  "EPA is issuing the guidance alongside an interpretive memorandum, which clarifies that class II UIC requirements apply to hydraulic fracturing activities using diesel fuels, and defines the statutory term diesel fuel by reference to five chemical abstract services… Continue Reading

U.S. EPA’s Office of Inspector General Wants to Join the Party

Posted in Energy
U.S. EPA’s Office of Inspector General has published a "project notification" indicating that it too wants to get in on the activity:  "The OIG’s objective is to evaluate how the EPA and states have used their existing authorities to regulate hydraulic fracturing impacts to water resources.  In meeting this objective, we will determine and evaluate… Continue Reading

Energy Boom and America’s Place in the World

Posted in Energy
Time magazine has a brief article on how hydraulic fracturing is changing geopolitics:  "America’s improved bargaining position vis-à-vis Iran is just one example of how the 21st century geopolitical order has been upended by the energy revolution underway in the U.S., according to Elizabeth Rosenberg, who authored the report. The downward pressure on oil prices… Continue Reading

The Polar Vortex

Posted in Energy
Forbes has an interesting article on the recent extreme winter weather and its impact on the natural gas market.  It starts:  "The polar vortex gripping the nation has brought a crazy week for natural gas. On Monday the demand for gas nationwide hit a record 125 billion cubic feet as homeowners and power generators sought… Continue Reading