The following information is an update of recent, local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to shale gas:
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation rejects environmental permit for the construction of the Constitution Pipeline
On April 22, 2016, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) rejected a Section 404 permit application submitted by Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC, to build a pipeline that would deliver natural gas supply from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania to Schoharie County, New York. In an explanatory letter, DEC declared that “the application fails in a meaningful way to address the significant water resource impacts that could occur from this Project and has failed to provide sufficient information to demonstrate compliance with New York State water quality standards.”
The Brookings Institution releases report addressing the impact of falling oil and gas prices on state budgets
On April 19, 2016, the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization, released a new study entitled “Permanent trust funds: Funding economic change with fracking revenues.” The study examines the effects of falling oil and gas prices on the economy of producing states. According to the researchers, “states can address these challenges by imposing a reasonable severance (extraction) tax on their oil and gas industry and channeling a portion of the revenue into permanent trust funds.”
Oklahoma Governor signs into law H.B. 3158 addressing the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s jurisdiction role
On April 18, 2016, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill No. 3158 relating to the Corporation Commission’s role in certain emergency situations. The Bill gives “exclusive jurisdiction, power and authority” to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to develop and regulate emergency response in situations related to oil and gas operations, such as wastewater injection well, pipelines, storage tanks and processing facilities. The bill was originally introduced in the state House on February 1, 2016.
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission issues report concerning water resources management for unconventional gas wells
On April 18, 2016, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission issued a report entitled “Water Use Associated with Natural Gas Shale Development: An Assessment of Activities Managed by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission July 2008 through December 2013.” The report addresses water resources management in the energy sector activity. As part of the report’s findings, the researchers found that water withdrawals in Northeast Pennsylvania for shale gas did not affect the quality of the Susquehanna River Basin’s water resources.
Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow