William A. Ruskin on State Fracking Disclosure Requirements

By William A. Ruskin Opponents of fracking argue that it is necessary for the public, and health and safety professionals, to have full access to information on the constituents of hydraulic fracturing fluids and waste. In a report released on July 26, 2012 titled, " State Hydraulic Fracturing...

Babst Calland: Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Invalidates Act 13 Local Ordinance Limitations

In a 4-3 decision, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court struck down portions of Act 13 of 2012, which had placed limits on the authority of local governments to regulate oil and gas industry activities. In its July 26, 2012 ruling on a legal challenge brought by seven municipalities and others, the Court...

Fulbright Briefing: Pa. Commonwealth Court Overturns Significant Portions of Act 13; Appeal Filed Next Day

By Kenneth S. Komoroski , Matthew H. Sepp and Michael P. Gaetani The Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted the Oil and Gas Act ("Act 13"), which substantially revises the Oil and Gas Act of 1984, 58 P.S. § 601.101 et seq., and was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett on February...

Western Legal Group Wins Property Rights Ruling in Pennsylvania Court

DENVER - Energy operators in Pennsylvania, after winning at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia in September 2011, which upheld a December 2009 ruling by a Pennsylvania federal district court regarding the property rights of oil and gas operators, on Sept. 6 celebrated the...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Pa. PUC Releases Shale Impact Fee Data

By Russell L. Schetroma and Adam Curtis The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) released its first report on Monday on the impact fees resulting from the state's new Marcellus shale law, dubbed Act 13 . The PUC is the agency in charge of collecting and disseminating the fees. According...

McNees Wallace & Nurick: Who Pays for Road Damage in Pennsylvania After Act 13?

By Jim Franklin The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania continues to experience dramatic increases in heavy-truck transportation activity associated with Marcellus Shale. So much so that approximately one-quarter of all PA-state routes are now posted with weight restrictions. Typically, any hauler who wants...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Pa. PUC Decides Local Ordinance Violates Act 13

[Recently], the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) ruled that the South Fayette Township's ordinance governing oil and gas well development and processing violates provisions of Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes ( Act 13 ), Pennsylvania's primary law regulating...

U.S. EPA Creates Uncertainty in Appalachia with Air Quality Permitting Memorandum

By Armando F. Benincasa In the face of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in late 2012 which struck down United States Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) use of "functional relatedness" in determining whether sources of air emissions should be aggregated for purposes...

DLA Piper Energy Alert: Thinking Strategically on Pipe Build-out for the Shale Boom

By Lee A. Alexander, Stefan M. Krantz and Zachary S. Launer Recent developments in horizontal drilling techniques have propelled natural gas production from shale formations to the forefront of domestic oil and gas production today. This rapid expansion is presenting opportunities and challenges for...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Upholds the Continuing Vitality of the 177-Year-Old Dunham Rule

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld the continuing vitality of the 177 year old Dunham rule in Pennsylvania, reiterating that a rebuttable presumption arises in any private deed or land conveyance that natural gas is not a "mineral" unless it is expressly designated as such in the document...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Pennsylvania DEP Finds No Link Between Hydraulic Fracturing and Methane Contamination

By Armando F. Benincasa, Brian J. Pulito and Thomas J. Sengewalt After a 16-month investigation, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced Monday that hydraulic fracturing for natural gas by WPX Energy, Inc. was not responsible for methane contamination in three private water...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Pa. Gov. Corbett Signs Act Providing for Mandatory Disclosures in Royalty Statements

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed SB 259 on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. The legislation requires natural gas producers operating in Pennsylvania to standardize all deductions listed on royalty check payment stubs. More specifically, producers must include well identification information, the net value...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: What Constitutes ‘Commencing a Well’ in Pennsylvania

By Lori A. Dawkins and Brian J. Pulito On May 24, 2013, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued a Memorandum Opinion in which it addressed what activities constitute “commencing a well” ( Good Will Hunting Club, Inc. v. Range Resources-Appalachia...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: DOE Study: Fracking Didn't Contaminate Water

By Brian J. Pulito A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a Western Pennsylvania drilling site. Richard Hammack, a geologist with the Department of Energy’s...

Land Owner Concedes Strict Liability Claim in Compressor Station Case

Penn State Marcellus Shale Law Blog reports that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania recently granted in part and denied in part Texas Eastern Transmission, L.P.’s motion to dismiss and or strike a personal injury complaint by a neighboring land owner. In Koziel v....

Transco Asks FERC to Authorize Leidy Southeast Pipeline Project

Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (“Transco”) recently filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) for authorization to construct and operate the Leidy Southeast Project. According to the application, the Leidy Southeast Project would...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Mechanical Integrity Assessment in Pennsylvania

By Stephen C. Smith Well operators in Pennsylvania must inspect each operating well at least quarterly to ensure it is in compliance with the well construction and operating requirements as required by Pa. Code title 25, § 78.88 . At a minimum, inspections must determine: (1) The well-head...

Babst Calland: 3rd Circuit Rules In Favor Of Shell Because Of Lease Unitization Clause

By Alana E. Fortna | On November 18, 2013, the Third Circuit affirmed a summary judgment ruling out of the Middle District of Pennsylvania in favor of Shell Western Exploration and Production, LP (Shell) in a case captioned as George W. Linder, et al. v. SWEPI, LP, a/k/a Shell Western Exploration...

Babst Calland: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declines To Hear Appeal In Caldwell v. Kriebel

By Lawrence H. Baumiller On November 26, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the Superior Court’s decision in Caldwell v. Kriebel Resources Co. [ enhanced opinion available to lexis.com subscribers ], which held that an oil and gas lease does not contain an implied...

Babst Calland: Pennsylvania Court Rules Seneca Has Rights On Game Land

By Matthew L. Lambach On January 27 th , 2014, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania overruled in part and sustained in part the preliminary objections of Seneca Resources Corporation (Seneca) to a complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (Commission) [ enhanced opinion available to lexis...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: OSHA: Coming to a Drilling Site Near You

By Lindsay M. Bouffard and David E. Dick In an effort to reduce fatalities in the oil and gas industry, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) created an Oil and Gas Regional Emphasis Program . This program, implemented in 2012, applies to all worksites in Texas, among other states....

Babst Calland: Advocates From Pa., Ohio, West Virginia Urge Common Approach To Shale Gas Taxation

By Joshua F. Hall As reported by Pittsburgh’s NPR News Station, 90.5 WESA, three advocacy groups, Leaders of Policy Matters Ohio, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, and the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, sent a letter to the governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia...

Babst Calland: Pa. House Panel Approves Bill To Reform Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act

By Elena L. Rorabaugh As reported by legal news website Law360 , a Pennsylvania bill was approved by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee that would amend the Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act of 1979 (GMRA) and will move to the House floor. House Bill 1684 would amend the GMRA to clarify...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Court Ruling a Victory for Kentucky Pipeline Eminent Domain Opponents

By J. Kevin West On March 25, 2014, a Circuit Court in Kentucky ruled in favor of those opposed to an interstate natural gas liquids (“NGLs”) pipeline’s potential use of eminent domain under the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The interstate pipeline is not subject to regulation...

Babst Calland: Pennsylvania House and Senate Pass Budget Without Marcellus Gas Severance Tax

By Matthew L. Lambach Marcellus Drilling News reports that the Pennsylvania House and Senate passed a budget that did not include a Marcellus Shale severance tax. Governor Tom Corbett withheld his signature while he continues to work with lawmakers on pension reform. Copyright 2014 • Babst...