Monday, January 25, 2016

U.S. District Court in West Virginia Issues a Temporary Restraining Order Against Ordinance Prohibiting Disposal Wells

On January 20, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia issued a temporary restraining order against the Fayette County Commission, which had enacted an ordinance banning the storage, disposal, or use of oil and natural gas waste within Fayette County.

On January 13, 2016, EQT Production Co. filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia challenging the ordinance’s validity. Operating hundreds of oil and gas wells and UIC wells in Fayette County, EQT Production Co. alleged that they are all operated in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the West Virginia Oil and Gas Act, and West Virginia UIC program, which preempt the ordinance. EQT also argued that the enforcement of such ordinance will result in an unconstitutional taking and impairment of contract under both the U.S. and state constitutions and will create irreparable harm to the company.

The U.S. District Court granted EQT Production Co.’s motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction and declared that “the Commission is enjoined from taking any action seeking to enforce any provision of the Ordinance pending further Order of this Court.” A hearing on further relief is scheduled for February 11, 2016.

Further information on this case is available at docket no. 2:16-cv-00290.

Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow

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