The following information is an update of recent, local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.
PennEast Pipeline Company Changes Pipeline Route to Minimize Environmental Impact
On September 23, 2016 the PennEast Pipeline Company LLC filed for changes to the PennEast pipeline in New Jersey. The new pipeline deviations are being implemented to protect wetlands, reduce the need for tree-clearing, as well as reduce the impact to endangered species. The route changes do not impact new landowners and occur within the original planned pipeline corridor.
Study Suggests Link Between Injection Well and 4.8 Magnitude Texas Earthquake in 2012
A study published in Science magazine September 23, 2016, observed satellite data to compare geological profiles and injection well zones. The authors state that wastewater injection in Texas causes uplift observable by radar. Additionally, due to pore pressures that correspond with the quake, they suggest that injection wells caused the 4.8 magnitude earthquake of 2012, the largest recorded quake in Texas. The study is called “Surface Uplift and Time-Dependent Seismic Hazard Due to Fluid Injection in Eastern Texas,” and was published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Amicus Curiae Briefs Filed to Show Opposition to BLM Regulation
On September 23, 2016 several amicus curiae briefs were filed by industry and conservative groups to support the Wyoming District Court’s decision. The briefs were filed by other states (Montana, Alaska, Kansas, and Texas), business groups, and the Pacific Legal Foundation and Wyoming Liberty Group. The case, Wyoming v. United States (2:15-CV-043-SWS), was decided in June of this year. The case was brought by Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, and Utah as well as Independent Petroleum Association of America and Western Energy Alliance to challenge the Bureau of Land Management’s regulations applying to hydraulic fracturing. The rule would have applied to any unconventional drilling on federal or Indian lands. The judge held that the Department of the Interior does not have the authority to make this rule. The current amicus curiae briefs have been filed in support of the ruling by the court.
Following Leak in Alabama, Colonial Pipeline Co. Announces the Pipeline Has Restarted
Colonial Pipeline Co. announced on September 21, 2016 the return of service for Colonial Pipeline 1. The pipeline spill occurred September 9th in Shelby County, Alabama and was discovered by a mining inspector. Colonial reports that they continue to monitor water quality and have so far found no signs of a serious environmental impact. The pipeline company transports over 100 million gallons of refined petroleum for more than 50 million consumers.
Ohio Business Roundtable Embraces Energy to Grow Economy
The Ohio Business Roundtable released its summary report in September 2016 with recommendations for Ohio policymakers to improve Ohio’s energy competitiveness. In the report, they recommend development of Ohio’s natural gas in the Utica shale play. In addition, they suggest that Ohio dedicates itself to exploring renewable energy, especially wind, as renewables grow in capacity and output.
Written by Jacqueline Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator