Earthquakes

News & Analysis as of

“Shaking” Things Up: Seismic Risk Assessments

Returning to our theme that nothing’s easy and everything keeps changing, here is one out of left field. Let’s talk PML and seismic risk. ASTM International, the market standard setting organization for everything from toilet...more

The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) is Considering Purchasing Cat Bonds over Reinsurance

This year the CEA will buy more reinsurance than in prior years, but the CEA may be casting an eye towards revenue bonds as part of its overall claims-paying resources, believing that a bond program could be more effective...more

Update – City of Los Angeles Releases List of 13,500 Soft First Story Buildings Targeted for Earthquake Retrofitting

The City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (DBS) has released its list of wood frame soft-story buildings that may be required to undergo mandatory retrofitting. The list can be obtained by request to DBS, and...more

Is Increased Seismic Activity from the Disposal of Fracking Fluid Actionable Under RCRA?

Seyfarth Partner Andrew H. Perellis is quoted in this Forbes Legal News article today, Sierra Club’s Legal Theory In Frackquake Case Draws ‘Star Trek’ Comparison (March 31, 2016). The article concerns a complaint filed...more

Sierra Club Sues Over Oklahoma Earthquakes

The Sierra Club has filed suit against three oil and gas companies operating in Oklahoma, alleging that the companies’ wastewater injection practices were behind the recent uptick in earthquake activity in the state. The...more

Tort Suit Seeks to Hold Drillers Responsible for Oklahoma Earthquakes

In what may be part of a wave of litigation blaming increased seismicity on oil and gas development activities, 12 residents of Oklahoma City and its suburbs filed suit against oil and gas drillers and operators of wastewater...more

Toxic Tort & Product Liability Quarterly Vol. 9, No. 1, February 2016

Sixth Circuit Rules that Clean Air Act Does Not Preempt State Tort Claims - In a decision that may leave facilities open to private tort liability despite compliance with federal Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements, the...more

Two Frackquake Lawsuits Filed in Oklahoma

Two lawsuits were filed within days of each other in Oklahoma, claiming that energy companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing and underground disposal of produced water are causing earthquakes throughout the state. These...more

CEQA Year In Review 2015

In 2015 the California appellate courts continued to chart new ground as they grappled with some of CEQA’s most difficult and controversial questions. The Supreme Court of California led the way, issuing four opinions on...more

UPDATE: Texas RRC Agrees Earthquakes Not Caused by EnerVest, XTO Injection Wells

In a November 3 decision, the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) agreed with an administrative law judge (ALJ) that two wastewater injection wells, one operated by EnerVest Operating LLC and the other by Exxon Mobil Corp....more

Sierra Club Issues Notice of Intent to Sue over Frackquakes in Oklahoma

On Monday, November 2, the Sierra Club issued a Notice of Intent to Sue (“Notice”) four oil companies, alleging ongoing violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”). Specifically, the Notice states that...more

Fracking-Related Earthquake Litigation Gains Momentum

On June 30, 2015, the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a decision that opened the courthouse doors to lawsuits for property damage and personal injuries caused by earthquakes purportedly related to fracking activities. See Ladra...more

Oh My! Oklahoma Court Allows Earthquake Case to Proceed

What should we make of the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s order sending a suit alleging injuries from an earthquake back to the trial court for further action?  Did the court unleash the lions, tigers and bears of the litigation...more

Los Angeles City Council Approves Major Earthquake Retrofitting Ordinance

On October 9th, the Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 to approve an ordinance requiring mandatory earthquake retrofitting for thousands of buildings in Los Angeles. The ordinance comes nearly a year after the publication of...more

UK Shale Gas - Going all out for Shale

As part of a package of measures to kick-start the shale gas industry in the UK, the UK government issued a joint Written Statement by DECC and DCLG on 16 September 2015 containing a new shale gas and oil policy. This policy...more

Texas Railroad Commission Finds Earthquakes in North Texas Not Caused by Drilling Operations

Update: On September 10, the Texas Railroad Commission concluded that these small earthquakes that occurred near Azle, Texas likely were not caused by drilling operations conducted by EnerVest Operating LLC. The Texas...more

Second Railroad Commission Decision Agrees Injection Well Not Likely Contributor to Earthquakes

Texas Railroad Commission examiners have determined that a well operated by EnerVest Operating LLC likely did not contribute to a series of earthquakes in the state, mirroring a similar determination made on August 31 in a...more

Texas Wastewater Injection Wells Off the Hook for Causing Earthquakes

On September 10, the Texas Railroad Commission absolved a second oil and gas company of causing a series of earthquakes in northern Texas finding that the seismic activity was due to “natural tectonic processes.” The...more

Railroad Commission Examiners Find Injection Well Not Likely Contributor to Earthquakes

The controversy around whether wastewater injection wells cause earthquakes was finally put to legal scrutiny in a recent proceeding before administrative hearing examiners (Examiners) with the Texas Railroad Commission,...more

Did the 2015 Texas Legislature Help Oil and Gas?

Your Texas legislators have done their work and the citizens are safe for the next two years.  The other good news is that industry supporters generally believe the 2015 Legislature was their friend. House Bill 2: Set...more

Increased Earthquake Activity Prompts Oklahoma to Reduce Wastewater Injection Rates in Limited Number of Wells

Regulators in Oklahoma have issued new restrictions on underground injection control wells in the vicinity of the Arbuckle formation – a 122 square mile area that recently experienced a cluster of minor earthquake activity,...more

Oklahoma Supreme Court Finds Subject Matter Jurisdiction Over Earthquake Claims

Potentially opening the door for litigation that seeks to tie deep-well injection of hydraulic fracturing flowback and other wastewater to damage caused by earthquakes, the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously held that state...more

Fracking, Trigger Warnings, and a Safe Room

First, an apology. I have brought shame to my own self and this blog for failing to invoke trigger warnings about activities I will mention again, after the appropriate trigger warning. (I had no idea there were so many.)...more

Oklahoma Holds Question of Whether Fracking Causes Earthquakes is for the Courts to Decide.

The issue of whether hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” causes earthquakes has first-party insurance implications because policies typically exclude damage from tremors attributable to man-made causes as opposed to purely...more

Texas Operator Pushes Back on Seismic Claims at Railroad Commission Hearing

Earlier this week, the Texas Railroad Commission held its first “show cause” hearing under the rule amendments adopted last October to address issues related to disposal wells located in potential high-risk seismic areas....more

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