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Pennsylvania's 'Clean and Green Act' Amended to Limit the Tax Consequences of Oil, Gas and CBM Development

Pennsylvania's Farmland and Forestland Assessment Act, more commonly known as the "Clean and Green Act," (72 Pa. C.S. § 5490.1 et seq. ) provides preferential tax treatment to property owners who agree to devote lands to agricultural, agricultural reserve, or forest reserve use under...

AP Enterprise: Lowball Natural Gas Drilling Leases Haunt Pennsylvania

FORKSVILLE, Pa. - (AP) A few short years after agreeing to lease their land to a natural gas company for $2 an acre, Dave and Karen Beinlich could do little but watch, and wait, as an overnight drilling boom turned fellow Pennsylvania landowners into millionaires. While other landowners were striking...

Pennsylvania Appellate Court Opinion Injects Uncertainty in Marcellus Shale Gas Ownership (Free Download)

On Sept. 7, 2011, the Pennsylvania Superior Court issued an opinion in Butler v. Charles Powers Estate , 2011 PA Super 198, 2011 Pa. Super. LEXIS 2710 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2011), that creates uncertainty for developers and gas/mineral owners alike ( Click here to download the opinion in Butler v. Charles...

McNees Client Alert: Act 127 of 2011 - The Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Act; Assessment of Pipeline Operators

By Jim Dougherty As you may know, on December 22, 2011, [Pennsylvania] Governor Corbett signed the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Act ("Act 127 of 2011"). Act 127 provides the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ("PUC" or "Commission") with authority to enforce...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Pennsylvania's Act 127: New Pipeline Safety Regulation

By Kurt L. Krieger and Russell L. Schetroma Effective February 20, 2012, Act 127, or the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act ("Act" or "Act 127"), expands the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's ("PaPUC") jurisdiction over operators who transport gas or hazardous...

McNees Client Alert: Pa. Act 127 of 2011 - The Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Act: Final PUC Implementation Order

By Jim Dougherty On December 22, 2011, [Pennsylvania] Governor Corbett signed into law the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Act ("Act 127") that expands the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's ("PUC" or "Commission") authority to enforce federal pipeline safety...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Narrowly Interprets Preemption in Surface Mining Act

By David L. Hotchkiss The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in a decision which narrowly interprets the preemption provision of the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act of November 30, 1971. On November 23, 2011, the Court decided Hoffman Mining Co. v. Zoning Hearing Board...

Pennsylvania Energy Operators Argue Energy Exploration Merits Permanent Relief

By William Perry Pendley DENVER - Energy operators in Pennsylvania, after a victory before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia in September 2011, on March 5 urged a Pennsylvania federal district court to issue a final ruling in their lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service...

Feds Ignore Law, Court Rulings In Pennsylvania, Legal Foundation Asserts

By William Perry Pendley DENVER - Energy operators in Pennsylvania, after a victory at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in September 2011, on March 15 urged a Pennsylvania federal district court to ignore a brief filed by federal lawyers and to issue a final ruling in their lawsuit...

U.S. Forest Service Not In Contempt, Pennsylvania Federal Judge Rules

By William Perry Pendley DENVER - A Pennsylvania federal district court on March 23 denied a motion by energy operators in Pennsylvania to hold the U.S. Forest Service in contempt of the district court's December 2009 ruling that requires the agency to process oil and gas lease development proposals...

Environmental Groups Ignore Rulings In Pennsylvania Energy Case, Legal Foundation Asserts

By William Perry Pendley DENVER - Energy operators in Pennsylvania, after a victory before the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia in September 2011, which affirmed the December 2009 ruling of a Pennsylvania federal district court regarding the property rights of oil and gas operators...

Babst Calland: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for Producing ‘In Paying Quantities’ Under Oil and Gas Lease

In a long-awaited decision issued Monday, March 26, 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that a court must consider an operator's good-faith judgment in continuing to operate a well in determining whether a well is producing "in paying quantities" under the terms of an oil and gas...

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...

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: 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: 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: 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...

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: 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...