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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 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. 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...

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...