Category Archives: Hydrofracking

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EPA Issues Final Hydraulic Fracturing Report, Concluding that The Practice “Can Impact Drinking Water Resources under Some Circumstances”; Follow-on Federal Regulation Highly Unlikely

When Congress first tasked the Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 with studying the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, pundits on both sides of the debate collectively held their breath: at last, they thought, there would be an independent, comprehensive, scientific study of the oil and gas extraction technique. Seven years in the … Continue Reading

Independent Scientific Panel Faults the EPA’s Landmark Hydraulic Fracturing Study

In a detailed, 180-page report released Aug. 11, the EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) faulted the clarity and conclusions of the agency’s landmark study on the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing, the high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals to break open shale and other “tight” geologic formations to release gas and other hydrocarbons. In … Continue Reading

Fracking Litigation Update

Lawsuits asserting damages from fracking continue to be filed at a rapid pace, in addition to front-end disputes over fracking regulations.  As detailed in BNA’s Toxics Law Reporter “Fracking Boom Likely to Trigger More Litigation” much recent litigation involves the use of early Lone Pine orders to test a plaintiffs’ prima facia case.  Another brewing issue is the potential for … Continue Reading

New York State Formally Adopts Ban on Fracking: An Analysis of the New York State DEC’s SEQRA Findings Supporting Its HVHF Ban

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) undertook its final official step in imposing a total ban on gas drilling using the method of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) through its issuance this week of its “Findings Statement” pursuant to New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”).  This week’s action was a fait … Continue Reading

Industry and States Legally Challenge Federal Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations

States and industry organizations are seeking to invalidate a recent hydraulic fracturing rule promulgated by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (the Rule).1 The Rule will go into effect on June 24, 2015, and litigation has been filed by states and industry organizations to halt implementation of the Rule. Industry organizations brought suit to request … Continue Reading

DEC Issues Its Long-awaited Final Supplemental Generic EIS on High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing

DEC issued its Final SGEIS today which is available for review on its website. There was no mystery as to the outcome because the decision that the State would not authorize the technique in New York State was announced by the Commissioners of Health and Environmental Conservation at a December 17, 2014 cabinet meeting of … Continue Reading

The Proposed Pennsylvania Budget, New Oil and Gas Regs, and the Fear of Fracking

In early March, Pennsylvania Governor Wolf submitted his proposed budget.  The Department of Environmental Protection issued a new iteration of proposed revisions to the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Regulations that has since appeared in the April 4 Pennsylvania Bulletin, 45 Pa. Bull. 1615.  Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley reportedly stated the Administration’s support for the Delaware River … Continue Reading

Anti-Fracking Resolution by Miami-Dade County

In the last six weeks we’ve provided analysis of the fracking bans in New York and Denton, Texas. Further on the anti- fracking front,  the Miami-Dade County Commission passed a resolution last week urging the Florida Legislature to adopt Senate Bill 166 (filed by Sen. Soto and Sen. Bullard) or similar legislation that would prohibit … Continue Reading

Denton, Texas Bans Fracking – What’s Next?

Bans on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) have arisen in a variety of places over recent months.  Voters in Mendocino County and San Benito County, California, and Athens, Ohio, separately approved bans on fracking in the November elections.  The New York State Governor and his Commissioners of Health and Environmental Conservation decided to ban fracking in New … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Environmental Rights Amendment: Back to Payne v. Kassab?

We have a new opinion today under the Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution.  Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation v. Commonwealth, No. 228 M.D. 2012 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Jan. 7, 2015).  Maybe the state constitution mandates some sort of environmental impact study before the commonwealth acts.  Maybe it means nothing more than that one must comply … Continue Reading

New York Bans Fracking In New York: What Now?

The wait is over in New York on fracking.  At a cabinet meeting today Governor Cuomo and his Commissioners of Health and Environmental Conservation announced that the long-awaited Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement will be released and establish that HVHF cannot move forward in New York.  The decision document will be contained in what … Continue Reading

New York Bans High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing

After years of speculation, the New York State Governor announced at a cabinet meeting, with his health and environmental commissioner by his side, that New York would not authorize permitting for high-volume fracturing in New York because of unanswered scientific questions on the safety and health effects of the procedure.  Cuomo’s environmental commissioner, Joe Martens, … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Invalidates PUC Review of Local Natural Gas Regulation

In February 2012, Pennsylvania adopted comprehensive revisions to its Oil and Gas Act known as “Act 13.”  Among the changes was an expanded preemption of local regulation of oil and gas activities. Prior law prohibited municipalities from regulating “how” oil and gas development would proceed, but permitted zoning control over “where” development could occur. Act … Continue Reading

New York Court Tosses Property Owners’ Little NEPA Challenge to New York State’s Failure To Complete Hydraulic Fracturing EIS For Lack of Standing

A trial court in Albany, New York has landed another blow against high-volume hydraulic fracturing (“HVHF”) in New York by tossing two lawsuits (decisions available here and here) brought by property owners and a bankrupt operator challenging New York’s failure to complete its environmental review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in a timely manner.  This comes a little … Continue Reading

Court of Appeals’ Dryden/Cooperstown Decision – Sanctity of Local Zoning Upheld, But Does It Doom NY Fracking?

This post follows up on today’s earlier post on the New York Court of Appeals’ decision in Wallach v. Dryden and Cooperstown Holstein Corp. v. Middlefield. In a 5-2 vote, New York’s highest court – the Court of Appeals – upheld the power of local governments to ban, through adoption of local laws, high-volume hydraulic fracturing.  The … Continue Reading

New York Court of Appeals Upholds Municipalities’ Fracking Bans

The New York Court of Appeals has just released its decision upholding the right of local governments to enact bans on high volume hydraulic fracturing.  The court held that the State’s Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law “does not preempt the home rule authority vested in municipalities to regulate land use.”  The decision can be … Continue Reading

EPA Initiates Rulemaking On Reporting About Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids

From Chris Bell of GT Houston: EPA today published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment, by August 18, 2014, on a variety of options EPA is considering to collect and make available to the public information about chemicals used in oil and gas exploration and production, particularly those used in hydraulic fracturing.  79 … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Maintains Presumption that Oil and Gas are Not “Minerals”

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided Butler v. Charles Powers Estate, No. 27-MAP-2012 (Pa. Apr. 24, 2013), re-affirming the general presumption in Pennsylvania law that a deed that conveys or reserves “minerals” does not convey or reserve rights in shale gas.  This presumption dates at least from Dunham v. Shortt & Kirkpatrick, 101 Pa. … Continue Reading

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Issues Revised Hydrofracking Regulations

On November 29, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) released revised proposed regulations that would govern high volume hydraulic fracturing – “hydrofracking” – in the state of New York, together with the agency’s assessment of and response to the nearly 66,000 public comments received to date. … Continue Reading
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