LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Opportunities in International Shale Gas Development

By Philip D. Vasquez In a recent white paper, I have outlined how India has proposed lucrative terms for foreign companies to come into India to help with shale gas development. As gas prices fall domestically, gas demands in countries such as India, China and Japan are at an all time high. The prolific...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: W.Va. Supreme Court to Decide Rights of Surface Owners

By Bridget Furbee The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia will decide a certified question sent by the Doddridge County Circuit Court. On September 25, 2012, oral argument was held before the Court in the case of James Martin, Director DEP and EQT Production Co. v. Matthew Hamblet . The surface...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: FERC Allows Pipeline to Prohibit Backhaul Shippers From Nominating Forward Haul Service

By Kurt Krieger Shippers with firm transportation capacity on interstate pipelines often nominate their contracts to move gas in numerous directions on the pipeline on a secondary point basis, subject to the pipeline's tariff scheduling priorities. Those with firm primary forward haul capacity...

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...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Pa. Law Opens More State Lands for Energy Development

On October 8, 2012, the Indigenous Mineral Resources Incentives Development Act ("Act") was enacted into the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Act expands the state-owned lands available for resource extraction activities by conferring power to the Department of General Services...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Overtime Issues Troubling the Energy Sector

By Lindsay M. Bouffard As a result of the expansion of oil and gas activities in the region and the increasing jobs associated with the expansion, the Department of Labor has been stepping up its enforcement initiative for oil and gas companies and related businesses. Because of this, it has become...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Energy Employers Face Increased Enforcement Activities

By C. David Morrison and Rodney L. Bean Representatives of the West Virginia Department of Labor (WVDOL) have begun visiting drilling sites in the state to make sure that all people receiving 1099 income are registered to do business in West Virginia, as required by law. If not registered, businesses...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: FMLA Misstep Proves Costly to Energy Employer

By Lindsay M. Bouffard An oil and gas support services company recently paid more than $43,000 in back wages and agreed to reinstate a terminated employee after a Department of Labor (DOL) investigation revealed the company terminated an employee in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Ohio Pipeline Safety Rules Under Review

By Katerina E. Milenkovski and Kurt L. rieger The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) kicked off its 5-year review process of the Pipeline Safety Rules in Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 4901:1-16 by holding a public workshop on January 16, 2014 to take input from the regulated community about...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: FERC Electric Transmission Line Rate Incentives Affirmed

By Kurt L. Krieger On January 24, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a 2012 order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) denying rehearing of a 2008 order granting rate incentives to an electric utility for various transmission projects...

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....

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: FERC Takes Further Action to Promote Gas and Electric Industry Coordination

B y Kurt L. Krieger On March 20, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued three separate but related items as part of FERC’s ongoing efforts to address gas and electric industry coordination issues arising from the increased reliance on natural gas for electricity...

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...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Ohio Court Favors Surface Owner in Dormant Mineral Act Ruling

Walker v. Noon was recently decided by the Ohio Seventh District Court of Appeals. Walker is noteworthy because it is the first appellate level decision addressing the automatic reversion provision under the 1989 version of the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Court Vacates FERC ‘Demand Response’ Final Rule

By Kurt L. Krieger On May 23rd, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated a final rule of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) which sought to incentivize electricity customers to reduce electricity consumption when economically efficient. The...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Mineral Lessees Have Surface Rights Across Non-Producing Pooled Tracts

By Christina A. Denmark, Of Counsel, and Russell L. Schetroma, Member On June 20, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court held that a mineral lessee has the right to use a road to cross the surface of non-producing pooled tracts. This decision is critical for oil and gas producers , as it clarifies the ability...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: New York Court of Appeals Upholds Local Zoning Restrictions on Oil and Gas

On June 30, 2014, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that under the “Home Rule” principle, towns may ban oil and gas production activities, including but not limited to hydraulic fracturing, through the use of local zoning laws in the case of Wallach v. Town of Dryden . The Court ruled that...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Ohio Appellate Court Adopts Fixed ‘Look Back’ Period For 1989 Dormant Mineral Act

In the recent 7th District Court of Appeals case of Eisenbarth v. Reusser , 7th Dist. Monroe No. 13 MO 10, 2014-Ohio-3792 [ enhanced opinion available to lexis.com subscribers ], the court determined that the “look back” period for the 1989 Dormant Mineral Act (“DMA”) was fixed...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: U.S. EPA Moves Forward with Potential TSCA Rulemaking Regarding Hydraulic Fracturing

By Armando F. Benincasa, Member The public comment period for USEPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding hydraulic fracturing chemicals and mixtures and potential regulation pursuant to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) came to a conclusion on September 18, 2014 and sets the...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Producer Requirements Change for Expired Oil and Gas Leases

By Gary Slagel and Holly Christie The “Recording of Surrender Documents from Oil and Natural Gas Lease Act,” will take effect as Act 152, December 21, 2014. Spurred by increasing concerns around title cloud issues caused by unreleased leases, the Act requires oil and gas producers to deliver...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: The Impacts of the 2014 Elections on Colorado’s Energy Industry

By Lori A. Dawkins, Member, and Devin C. Daines, Associate The results and impacts of Colorado’s recent elections were widely regarded as positive by those in the energy industry. By narrowly winning a second term, Governor John Hickenlooper will be able to keep intact his oil and gas task force...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Trial Lawyers Targeting Oil and Gas Industry Layoffs

There have already been social media campaigns targeting laid off oil and gas workers. Trial lawyers are looking for claims to bring against companies that make mistakes in laying off workers. On its face, the WARN Act appears to be simple and straightforward. However, there are several traps in that...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Pennsylvania DEP Repurposes Rules for Oil and Gas Wells – Industry Concerns Increase

By Gary E. Slagel | As was previously noted on this blog site, the PA Department of Environmental Protection embarked on an effort several years ago to revise its Chapter 78 rules pertaining to the permitting and environmental issues associated with oil and gas operations. These proposed rules were...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Kentucky Oil and Gas Modernization Act of 2015 Will Become Effective June 24

By Sarah M. Lange and J. Kevin West e | The Kentucky Oil and Gas Modernization Act of 2015 was enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly during the 2015 Legislative Session and will take effect on June 24, 2015. The legislation provides regulatory certainty to the Commonwealth’s oil and gas industry...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Fayette County, W. Va., Commission Amends Code to Require Local Approval for UIC Wells

Operators of future underground injection wells in Fayette County, West Virginia will be required to obtain a permit from the county approving the placement of the well. The County Commission amended the development code to require permits for underground injection control (UIC) wells. A public hearing...