The following information is an update of recent, local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.
Appeal Expected for Well Water Contamination Case
On November 3, 2016, the attorneys representing Loren Kiskadden announced their intent to appeal the Commonwealth Court decision, according to the Observer Reporter. The appeal reportedly will include evidence of pollution in monitoring wells, in addition to evidence of chemicals allegedly withheld by Range Resources. The Commonwealth Court ruled in Range Resource’s favor on October 26, 2016. The complaint brought by Kiskadden alleged that the Yeager Site owned by Range Resources had caused the contamination of his well water. (Kiskadden v. Pennsylvania DEP, 1167 c.d. 2015).
Injection Well Operator Challenges Ohio’s Authority to Regulate Well
On November 1, 2016, American Water Management Services argued before the Franklin County Court that the Ohio Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management does not have the power to regulate their injection well (American Water Management Services v. Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management, 16 CV 006218). According to the Observer-Reporter, the company said the closure of their facility was not based on actual or reliable scientific evidence. Ohio’s oil and gas chief had ordered that the injection well be closed in 2014 due to the occurrence of approximately 20 small seismic events.
Oklahoma Corporation Commission Issues Two New Advisories After Large Earthquakes
On November 3, 2016, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) issued a new advisory that affects 38 Arbuckle disposal wells. The advisory is in direct response to the 4.3 magnitude earthquake that occurred near Pawnee on November 1st. Several wells had already been shut down or required to limit volume after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in September. The OCC has also issued a second advisory after a 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck Cushing on November 6th. The OCC reported that they are currently working on a new action plan in regards to disposal well operations.
President Obama Comments on Possible Solutions for Dakota Access Pipeline
On November 1, 2016, in an interview with NowThisNews, President Barack Obama said that the federal government is closely monitoring the Dakota Access pipeline situation. President Obama stated that they would like to find a solution that would “accommodate sacred lands” and that “we’re going to let it play out for several more weeks.” In addition, he said that the Army Corps of Engineers is looking at possible alternative routes for the pipeline.
SoCalGas Requests Approval to Continue Operation at Aliso Canyon Injection Facility
On November 1, 2016, Southern California Gas Co. announced that it had requested government approval to continue operations at Aliso Canyon. To improve safety, SoCalGas has set up an air quality notification system, is operating at a reduced pressure, and conducts daily patrols. As reported by Unconventional Oil and Gas Center, the underground natural gas storage facility had been closed due to the largest methane leak in state history, discovered in October of 2015.
Montana to Pursue Damages for Yellowstone River Oil Spill
On October 27, 2016, the Montana Department of Justice announced their intent to pursue damages from Bridger Pipeline, LLC for the 2015 oil spill that occurred in the Yellowstone River. Over 30,000 gallons of crude oil was spilled into the river and caused significant water quality problems. Compensation for possible damage to the state’s natural resources will be sought under the federal Oil Pollution Act as well as under state law. After damages are assessed, the public will have the opportunity to review and comment on a restoration plan created by the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
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Recent ShaleLaw HotLinks include:
“Skyrocketing West Texas Land Prices Have Oilmen Uneasy” - The Wall Street Journal
Ohio State to study impact of pipelines on ag fields - ShaleGasReporter
“PA Business Leaders: Shale Gas Pipeline Build-out Needs to Step Up” - The Inquirer
Written by Jacqueline Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator