Monday, February 20, 2017

Shale Law Weekly Review - February 20, 2017

Written by Jacqueline Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator

The following information is an update of recent, local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.

PA DEP Approves Mariner East II Pipeline
On February 13, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) gave their approval for the permit applications from Sunoco Pipeline L.P. for the Mariner East 2 pipeline. According to a DEP information sheet, the pipeline will expand the existing Sunoco Mariner East 1 pipeline and over eighty percent of the new pipeline will follow the same path. The purpose of the pipeline is to “transport natural gas liquids from Ohio and the Pittsburgh area to its Marcus Hook Facility in Delaware County.”

DC District Court Denies Temporary Restraining Order for Dakota Access Pipeline
On February 13, 2017 , a Judge Boasberg ruled against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s motion for a temporary restraining order, according to Turtle Talk, a publication of Michigan State University College of Law.  The judge denied the temporary restraining order and will hold a hearing on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s motion for preliminary injunction on February 27, 2017. Both motions requested a halt to construction and drilling of the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 16-cv-01534)

FERC Approves Rover Pipeline Project
On February 2, 2017, the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the Rover Pipeline project. The Rover project will transport gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale and will include nine supply laterals and three mainlines. The project will cost approximately $4 billion and includes construction of several new compressor stations and meter stations.

WV Senator Introduces Bill to Allow Gas Companies to Survey Without Permission
On February 10, 2017, a West Virginia senator introduced legislation to allow natural gas companies to survey land without permission from the landowners. The bill, Senate Bill 245, will permit natural gas companies “to enter private property without prior consent from the owner for the limited purposes of obtaining data to comply with regulatory requirements or to survey land for pipeline or pipeline facility development.” The bill states that any land entry in compliance with the rule will be considered a “minimal intrusion” and the company will reimburse the landowner for any damages.

Colorado Attorney General Sues Boulder Colorado for Oil and Gas Moratorium
On February 14, 2017, the attorney general of Colorado filed suit against Boulder County due to the county’s continued moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (Colorado v. County of Boulder Colorado). Boulder county’s Board of County Commissioners imposed a moratorium on oil and gas development in 2012 and has continued to extend the moratorium each year. The complaint states that “the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously determined that local governments lack the authority to ban oil and gas development within their borders.” According to a press release by the attorney general’s office, the moratorium is a “clear violation of Colorado Law.”

SEC Rule Requiring Disclosure of Payments Made to Foreign Governments is Repealed
On February 14, 2017, the United States President signed House Joint Resolution 41,  which repeals a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule. The SEC rule, “Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers,” required oil, gas, and other mineral companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments. The resolution was passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate on February 1st and 3rd, respectively.

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Check out this week’s Shale Law in the SpotLight: Pennsylvania Senate Passes Proposed Oil and Gas Lease Protection Package.

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