Energy & Utilities Zoning, Planning & Land Use Conflict of Laws

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Fracking Heats Up in California: Moratoria and Earthquakes

The last several weeks have seen some interesting developments suggesting an increase in temperature in the debate over hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in California. First, a couple of jurisdictions took actions...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declares Portions of Marcellus Shale Act Unconstitutional, Upholds Local Regulation of Oil and Gas...

On December 19, 2013, in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania et al., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared portions of Act 13 of 2012 (Act 13), commonly known as the “Marcellus Shale Act,” unconstitutional. As...more

PA Supreme Court Holds Portions of Oil and Gas Act Unconstitutional

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently held that several provisions of Act 13 of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act are unconstitutional as it gives Marcellus Shale and natural gas drillers unfettered access to drilling...more

Litigation Over Hydraulic Fracturing in New York Rolls On, As Arguments Are Made To High Court The Same Week A New Lawsuit Emerges...

On December 16, 2013, the Town of Dryden, New York filed its merits brief with the New York Court of Appeals, arguing that state law does not preempt the Town’s local zoning ordinance purporting to ban hydraulic fracturing....more

Colorado Oil and Gas Association Files Suit Against Fracking Bans

On December 3, 2013, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (“COGA”) filed suits challenging citizen-passed initiatives that ban oil and gas activities in the cities of Fort Collins and Lafayette. The ordinance passed by the...more

Third Circuit Decision Finding No CAA Preemption of State Law Nuisance Creates Apparent Split With Fourth Circuit

A recent case from the Third Circuit has muddied the waters for emissions facilities complying with Clean Air Act (“CAA”) permits. In Bell v. Cheswick Generating Station, 2013 WL 4418637 (Aug. 20, 2013), the Third Circuit...more

The New Range Wars: CEQA and the Williamson Act Are Deployed To Fight Global Warming Solutions In Save Panoche Valley

Nothing says “battle royal” quite like pitting several of California’s heavyweight environmental laws against one another in a “winner-take-all” litigation brawl....more

Court of Appeals to Hear Fracking Ban Case?

Last week, Norse Energy filed its Notice of Appeal to the New York State Court of Appeals. ...more

N.Y. Appellate Court: Municipalities Can Ban O&G Activity

An intermediate appellate court in New York recently affirmed that a local government has the authority to enact zoning ordinances banning all oil and natural gas activities within municipal limits. In 2011, the Town of...more

New York Appeals Court Upholds Zoning Laws Banning Hydrofracking over State Oil and Gas Laws

In Norse Energy Corporation USA v. Town of Dryden, et al. and Cooperstown Holstein Corporation v. Town of Middlefield, the Third Department upheld local ordinances banning all activities related to the exploration for and the...more

N.Y. Appellate Division Affirms Zoning Ordinance Banning Hydraulic Fracturing

Sedgwick’s Hydraulic Fracturing Task Force has been watching the ongoing litigation involving hydraulic fracturing (fracking) bans in the towns of Dryden and Middlefield, N.Y. In February 2012 we reported on the Supreme...more

New York Court Upholds Local Hydraulic Fracturing and Oil and Gas Development Bans

Last Friday, a four judge panel of a New York appeals court upheld two local zoning laws that prohibit activities related to oil and gas exploration and development, including hydraulic fracturing. The decisions in Norse...more

Youngstown City Hydraulic Fracturing Ban Approved for May Ballot

In late February, we covered the state and federal legislative and enforcement responses to the release of hydraulic fracturing waste into a Youngstown, Ohio area tributary by a local oil and gas drilling operator. Shortly...more

Virginia AG: Localities Cannot Ban Gas Drilling Through Zoning

Continuing on this blog’s ongoing exploration of the intersection of state and local regulation of shale drilling, several weeks ago Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued an advisory opinion finding that state oil...more

D.C. Circuit Rebuffs Challenges to EPA’s Climate Change Regulations

In considering the most serious efforts to date to invalidate the federal climate change regulations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously upheld several of EPA’s Clean Air Act greenhouse gas (GHG)...more

Pennsylvania Passes Comprehensive Amendments to Oil and Gas Laws

On February 13, Governor Tom Corbett signed House Bill 1950, amending Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. This legislation, most of which will become effective on April 13, imposes a drilling...more

Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act Amended to Require "Uniformity" with Respect to Municipal Ordinances Regulating Oil and Gas...

On February 8, 2012, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed House Bill 1950, which makes a series of reforms to the Commonwealth’s Oil and Gas Act, 58 P.S. §§ 601.101 et seq. Among the reforms to the Act...more

Local Matter Or Federal Case? The Network Of Cell Tower Regulation In California By Arthur F. Coon and Sean Marciniak*

I. INTRODUCTION. Few planning and zoning decisions generate more controversy than the placement of cellular phone antennas. If the proposed site lies near a residential area, neighbors often will organize for purposes...more

Is the Service Area of a Federally Indebted Water Utility Still “Sacrosanct” Under 7 USC 1926(b)?

Introduction: •What is 7 USC 1926(b) •Characteristics of Retail W/WW Service •Classic Service Encroachment Case •What Constitutes “Service Made Available” •Impact of Recent Court Decisions Please see full...more

Wiggle Room for Local Regulation of Marcellus Gas Drilling, or Potentially Reversible Error?

On July 22, 2010, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania decided Penneco Oil Company v. The County of Fayette, Pennsylvania,1 holding that a local "zoning" ordinance targeting natural gas drilling is not preempted by...more

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