BLM Promulgates Regulations and A Lawsuit Is Filed

The Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management has released federal regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing on federal lands.  Here are some of the highlights of the regulations, which go into effect in approximately 60 days: Chemical Disclosure Requirements:   Within 30 days of completed operations, companies are required to disclose the additives used for frac fluids.  Companies are to use FracFocus as the vehicle for those disclosures.  If the additives contain trade secrets and therefore they should not to be disclosed, a process, including an affidavit, is to be followed for submission to the BLM. Geological data:  Companies are required to provide information to the BLM regarding the wellbore geology. Well casings standards:  The casing and cementing shall follow “best practices” in the industry. Monitoring:  Well casings are to be monitored throughout the process. Immediately following the ...
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Top Fracking Related Legal Stories of the Week

Here are the top fracking related legal stories of the week:        North Carolina fast tracking fracking regulations.        DOI and BLM Named In Navaho Reservation Related Lawsuit.        Bill Introduced In House of Representatives To Compensate  Landowners For Fracking Bans.        Study Ties Hydraulic Fracturing to Seismic Activity.       Antitrust Lawsuit Filed Related to Marcellus Shale Gas Royalties
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Locality Challenges US Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit Process

According to reports, another lawsuit has been filed in Louisiana by a locality seeking to stop fracking within its boarders.  This time, the United States Corps of Engineers has been sued in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana for its permit approval of hydraulic fracturing activity in wetlands.  The Town of Abita Springs claims that the Corps did not follow requisite protocol prior to issuing a permit, such as a public hearing.  The permit allows an energy company the opportunity to perform vertical well drilling near Interstate 12 on an approximately 3 acre area of wetlands.  The aforementioned suit follows from two recent lawsuits commenced by the Town of Abita Springs and the nearby St. Tammany Parish.  In both of those cases, the localities challenge the state government’s approval of ...
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Hydraulic Fracturing Banned in New York

banfrackingb1smjpeg New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that he will prohibit high-volume hydraulic fracturing within the shale-rich state. The decision comes after years of debate and behind-the-scenes health studies. Health commissioner Howard Zucker reportedly said that he “cannot support” the practice and Governor Cuomo noted those statements are what led to his decision to ban fracking. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Governor said, “I don’t think I even have a role here.” It is unclear whether the decision can be overturned by future administrations. Hydraulic fracturing has been approved in many states, including North Dakota, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Opponents of the practice have been extremely vocal, particularly related to potential risk of water contamination. Supporters cite the economic and national security benefits of the practice and believe ...
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Jury “Earthquake” Discussions Did Not Warrant New Trial

608px-US-CourtOfAppeals-8thCircuit-Seal The Eight Circuit, in a case involving a determination regarding the amount of damages to property owners purportedly caused by vibrations from drilling operations, has refused to order a new trial arising out of an energy company’s challenge to a jury verdict against it where the jurors discussed “fracking” and “earthquakes” even though there was no evidence at trial regarding those activities. Specifically, during jury deliberations in Ruby Hiser v. XTO Energy, 768 F.3d 773 (8th Cir. 2014), the jury inquired of the court: “Were they drilling only or were they also fracking? The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff. On a motion to vacate the verdict, the Court’s hearing probed into extent to which the jurors discussed “fracking” and “earthquakes” in their deliberations. One juror admitted that he “asked whether [the defendant] fracked the well ...
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