Brennan Weintraub - Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler - Staff Attorney
The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to shale gas.
State Regulation: Colorado Proposition for Increased Oil & Gas Setbacks Fails
On November 6, 2018, the voters of Colorado rejected Proposition 112 which, if adopted, would have required that all new oil and gas drilling operations in the state be at least 2,500 feet away from all occupied structures and vulnerable areas. Vulnerable areas, according to the text of the measure, included public parks, playgrounds, sources of drinking water, and other water bodies across the state. The initiative ultimately failed by roughly twelve points, despite an October poll that found 52% support for the measure.
Pipelines: West Virginia’s Rover Pipeline Has Been Completed
On November 1, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted Energy Transfer LP permission to put into service the final two segments of its Rover Pipeline project in West Virginia. With the approval of the Sherwood and CGT Laterals, as well as a compressor station and two metering stations, the entire 713-mile natural gas pipeline is now fully operational. The Rover Pipeline will transport roughly 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus and Utica Shales to northern Ohio and Michigan for distribution. The pipeline is also connected to the company’s storage hub in Ontario, where natural gas is stored for later distribution to North American markets.
LNG Exports: DOE Approves Short-Term LNG Exports from Corpus Christi
On November 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy issued an order expanding export authorization for the Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project (Corpus Christi). The Department of Energy previously granted Corpus Christi short-term authorization on September 28, 2018, to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries with which the U.S. has a free trade agreement (FTA). The recent order will allow Corpus Christi to also export to non-FTA countries so long as trade with that country is not prohibited by U.S. law or policy. The order provides for a two-year period beginning either on December 31, 2018, or the date of the Project’s first export - whichever comes first. Additionally, Corpus Christi is limited to exporting 767 Bcf of natural gas to FTA countries and 767 Bcf to non-FTA countries in a twelve-month period.
GHG Emissions: Washington State Voters Reject Proposed Carbon Fee
On November 6, 2018, voters in the state of Washington voted down Initiative 1631 by roughly a thirteen-point margin. The measure proposed to institute fees on large emitters of greenhouse gas pollutants such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, and other gases. The fee would have been based on the carbon content in the released fossil fuels and would have been collected from natural gas public utilities or entities. Proceeds from these fees were to have been used to promote green energy sources and address the impacts of climate change. The Washington Office of Financial Management estimated that the measure would have raised roughly 2.3 billion dollars during the first five fiscal years after adoption. The program would have also set aside $50 million for a program to support workers transitioning from fossil fuel work.
Pipelines: Fourth Circuit Stays Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s Water-Crossing Permit
On November 7, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit granted a motion to stay the water-crossing permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in West Virginia. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection requires that stream crossings must be completed within 72 hours and that any structures built cannot impede the ability of fish to swim in the stream. Sierra Club, one of the plaintiffs, said in a press release that the project’s plans involve temporarily damming the Greenbrier River for three days, which would make it impossible for fish to navigate the river.
From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts:
George Bibikos, At the Well Weekly, (November 11, 2018)
Charles Sartain, Asserting a Losing Title Claim Isn't (Always) Tortious, Gray Reed (November 7, 2018)
John McFarland, Seeligson v. Devon - Plaintiffs (Almost) Get Class Certification, Oil and Gas Lawyer Blog (November 7, 2018)
DEP Grants: $2.6 million in funding to municipalities and businesses for 16 clean energy vehicle projects for air quality and public health (November 8, 2018)
DEP Grants: $610,000 in funding granted to school districts for clean energy vehicle projects (November 9, 2018)
Public Hearings regarding: Air Quality Plan Approvals for Proposed Compressor Stations in Delaware, Bucks Counties (December 4, 2018)
Meeting Cancellation: Environmental Quality Board meeting for November 13, 2018 is cancelled. The next meeting is scheduled for December 18, 2018.
Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive ShaleLaw HotLinks:
“Net exporter status could be in America’s future” - Hart Energy
“Tax revenues improve thanks to drilling, but full recovery still distant” - Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Sweet success in the Eagle Ford” - Hart Energy
“Okla. driller stops frack job after earthquake” - Energywire
“Gas-fired power projects to boost Appalachia gas demand” - Shale Gas Reporter
“Public hearing set for Tuesday on oil conditioning regulations” - The Bismarck Tribune
“Cabot Oil & Gas expects Marcellus production jump in 2019” - Shale Gas Reporter
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This week we published one new Shale Law in the Spotlight article: Ohio Supreme Court Denies Ballot Proposition to Prohibit Oil and Gas Extraction Within the City of Columbus.
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