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.
Pipelines: Federal Court Stays Atlantic Coast Pipeline Access to North Carolina Farm
On November 13, 2018, the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina issued an order staying the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s action to obtain access to a farm in Nash County (Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, v. 11.57 Acres, More or Less, in Nash County, North Carolina). In its decision, the court found that construction of the pipeline on the farm would cause significant hardship to the owner, including property value and the destruction of a historic tree. Additionally, the opinion noted that there are a number of other challenges to the pipeline’s authorization that may obviate the need for an easement on the property at issue. Earlier this month, on November 7, 2018, the U.S. Appeals Court for the Fourth Circuit issued a stay of a water crossing permit for the pipeline in West Virginia. When constructed, the pipeline will transport natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina.
Pipelines: Minnesota PUC Declines to Reconsider Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Approval
On November 19, 2018, the Minnesota Public Utility Commission decided not to reconsider its previous approval of the Enbridge Line 3 natural gas pipeline. Petitioners, including White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Red Lake Band of Chippewa, and Honor the Earth, argued that the order at issue did not include a crude oil demand forecast or consider other reasonable alternatives to the current construction plan. The Commission did not find these arguments persuasive and upheld their previous decision. The project will replace the existing Line 3 pipeline, which runs from Wisconsin to Alberta, and is expected to have a capacity of roughly 760,000 barrels a day.
Methane Emissions: North Dakota Amends “Gas Capture Policy”
On November 20, 2018, the Industrial Commission (Commission) of North Dakota amended the natural gas capture policy for the state. The Commission stated that the change is intended to support federal policy of streamlining the development of pipeline projects. In addition, the Commission stated that the policy will “increase the volume of captured gas and reduce the percentage of flared gas, in addition to encouraging investment in gas capture infrastructure.” According to the Dickinson Press, the Commission will now incentivize industry investment, rather than working to reduce the number amount and duration of natural gas flaring.
From the National Oil & Gas Law Experts:
George Bibikos, At the Well Weekly, (November 26, 2018)
John McFarland, Huddleston on Shale Plays in Texas, Oil and Gas Lawyer Blog (November 26, 2018)
Public Hearings regarding: Air Quality Plan Approvals for Proposed Compressor Stations in Delaware, Bucks Counties (December 4, 2018)
Upcoming Meeting: Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council Meeting (November 28, 2018)
New Policy Announcement - Press Release: PA Dept of Environmental Protection reveals new plan to expand solar energy development. The plan will require utilities to use some solar energy, expand loans for solar ownership, implement a carbon pricing plan, and evaluate possible tax exemptions (November 15, 2018)
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“Oil’s ugly stretch is latest blow to commodity investors” - Wall Street Journal
“Interior credits increased fossil fuel production for jump in revenue from federal lands” - The Hill
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