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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...

Babst Calland: 3 Oil and Gas Bills Pass Pennsylvania Senate Panel

By Elena L. Rorabaugh | A Pennsylvania senate committee recently unanimously approved two bills regarding oil and gas royalty calculations. StateImpact Pennsylvania reported that Senate Bills 147 and 148 were approved by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on Wednesday, January...

Babst Calland: Pennsylvania High Court Prohibits Tolling of Oil and Gas Leases During Litigation

By Steven B. Silverman [On Feb. 17], the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued Harrison v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. , a significant opinion in which the Court refused to apply equitable tolling principles that other oil and gas jurisdictions have adopted [ enhanced opinion available to lexis.com subscribers...

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...

EQT Executive Nominated As Commissioner Of The Pa. PUC

By Matthew L. Lambach The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Governor Tom Wolf nominated Andrew Place to serve as commissioner on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission . Mr. Place is currently the corporate director for energy and environmental policy. He was selected to replace the outgoing...

Babst Calland: Pennsylvania Federal Court Holds 1961 Dual Purpose Lease Still In Effect

By Matthew L. Lambach | In the case titled Mason v. Range Res.-Appalachia LLC (2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97471), the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania recently held that a 1961 oil and gas lease remained in effect pursuant to the terms of the lease [ enhanced opinion...

Babst Calland: Pennsylvania DEP Releases Latest Revisions Of Oil And Gas Rulemaking

By Matthew L. Lambach The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced the draft final revisions to the “Environmental Protection Performance Standards at Oil and Gas Well Sites” rulemaking (Chapters 78 and 78a). Following the most recent round of public...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Pa. DEP’s Latest Revisions to Chapter 78a for Unconventional Wells – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s long, drawn out effort to promulgate new rules for oil and gas activities took another turn on August 12, 2015. On a DEP webinar on that day, the DEP announced several significant changes to its latest edition of proposed rules for regulating...

Babst Calland: Pennsylvania Court Rules That Gas Lease Was Not Forfeited

By Elena L. Rorabaugh The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled on Friday that an oil and gas lease was not forfeited by the failure of the operators to pay delay rentals lexis.com subscribers may view the enhanced opinion | Lexis Advance ] . In Dewing v. Abarta Oil & Gas Co. , the landowners (the...

Babst Calland: Pa. Commonwealth Court Reverses Controversial Lycoming County Decision

By Robert Max Junker Earlier [Sept. 14], the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued a unanimous decision in the much-anticipated case of Gorsline v. Board of Supervisors of Fairfield Township , reversing the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County [ lexis.com subscribers may view...

McNees, Wallace & Nurick LLC: Pennsylvanians Penalized As Companies Are Forced To Waste Money Under Guise Of Energy Efficiency

By Pamela C. Polacek Anyone who has paid an electric bill knows the importance of energy efficiency. Turn off the lights when you leave the room, install energy-saving light bulbs, keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature: Every day, energy consumers, both individual and corporate, analyze...

Babst Calland: Pa. Court Upholds Zoning Ordinance Permitting Oil and Gas Well Development In Agricultural/Residential Zoning District

By Lawrence H. Baumiller | On October 21, 2015, Judge Richard McCormick, President Judge of the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, issued a decision and order upholding the validity of Allegheny Township’s zoning ordinance, which permits oil and gas well development in the Township’s...