LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Pennsylvania Court Delays Act 13's Preemption of Local Zoning Ordinances

By Russ L. Schetroma On April 11, 2012, a senior judge of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court entered a preliminary injunction deferring the effective date of the provisions of Pennsylvania's Act 13 of 2012 affecting the authority of local governments to regulate oil and gas operations for an...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: FERC Schedules Regional Conferences on Gas & Electricity Market Coordination

By Kurt Krieger "These standards will establish communication protocols between interstate pipelines and power plant operators and transmission owners and operators. Through this rulemaking, the Commission is seeking to improve coordination between the gas and electric industries in order to...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Natural Gas Storage Field Boundary Extension vs. Production Interests

Do you produce gas or oil near a gas storage field? Do you intend to do so? Do you have an operating agreement with the storage field operator? What if storage field gas migrates into your production field or strata? What happens if your production operations threaten the integrity of the storage field...

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: District Court Grants Summary Judgment to Mineral Owners Against the U.S. Forest Service

In Minard Run Oil Co. v. United States Forest Serv . , C.A. No. 09-125 Erie (W.D. Pa. September 6, 2012) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], Judge Sean J. McLaughlin of the Western District of Pennsylvania granted summary judgment to plaintiff mineral owners in the ongoing litigation...

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...

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...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Manchin Takes the Public Lands, Forests and Mining Subcommittee

By L. Gil White U. S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Democrats have given the public lands subcommittee gavel to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), his office said. Manchin takes the Public Lands, Forests and Mining Subcommittee gavel from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who now chairs the full...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Ohio EPA Could Change Air Permits for Oil and Gas Well Sites

By Katerina E. Milenkovski Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently proposed several changes to its general permits for oil and gas well site production operations. These changes would: Incorporate requirements from the recently issued New Source Performance Standards (NSPS),...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: West Virginia House Judiciary Amends Horizontal Well Legislative Rule

By Armando F. Benincasa and G. Kurt Dettinger On April 9, 2013, the House Judiciary Committee amended SB 243, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection ("WVDEP") rules bill which includes the promulgation of permanent legislative rules, 35 Code of State Rules, Series 8, regarding...

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: Know How: Oil and Gas Regulation Sole Domain of State of Ohio

By Katerina E. Milenkovski, Of Counsel (Originally printed in the ABA Litigation News) The state of Ohio has the exclusive authority to regulate oil and gas drilling, according to an Ohio appellate court that rejected attempts by a city to impose additional requirements as a matter of “home...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Implied Covenant to Develop in Ohio Negated by Express Language in Lease: Bilbaran Farm Inc. v. Bakerwell Inc., et al.

By Timothy M. McKeen and Jason Lucas On June 12, 2013, Ohio's Fifth District Court of Appeals held that a general waiver of implied covenants in an oil and gas lease negates the lessee’s duty to develop other formations and acreage ( Bilbaran Farm, Inc. v. Bakerwell, Inc., et al. , No. 12...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: Legislative Changes to Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act and Lease Forfeiture Statute

By Timothy M. McKeen and Jason Lucas | Ohio House Bill 72 (“ HB 72 ”), effective January 29, 2014, outlines important changes to filing for lease forfeiture or mineral abandonment under Ohio's Dormant Mineral Act by making an individual who seeks to forfeit a lease or abandon minerals...

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...

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: 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: 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...