News & Analysis as of

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

Does “Red Tagging” Terminate a Lease?

There’s been an earthquake, and an apartment building is red-tagged by the city or county because the utilities have been disconnected and the utility lines need repair; the landlord is dragging his feet about getting them...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

EPA Issues Landmark Hydraulic Fracturing Study, Finds “No Widespread, Systemic Impacts on Drinking Water”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a draft of its hotly anticipated hydraulic fracturing study, finding that the controversial practice has not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water, as some...more

Pennsylvania Joins Oklahoma, Bans Homeowners Insurers From Attributing Earthquakes to Fracking

Last month we reported that the Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner had issued a bulletin cautioning earthquake insurers against denying claims on the basis that the quake was attributable to a man-made cause, which is to say oil...more

Southern Methodist University Study Suggests Hydraulic Fracturing Responsible for Uptick in Texas Earthquakes

In an article published late last month in the journal Nature Communications, researchers at Southern Methodist University pointed to hydraulic fracturing activities as the probable cause of an increase in earthquakes near...more

Court Makes an Unsettling Inference to Find that the Statute of Limitations Bars Claims Arising from a 1997 Northridge Earthquake...

In Britton v. Girardi (No. B249232 – Filed 4/1/2015), the Second Appellate District upheld the trial court’s dismissal due to the statute of limitations based on an inference it drew from a letter attached to the complaint,...more

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner: Don’t Deny Earthquake Claims as Man-Made by Linking Them to Fracking

The jury is still out on whether hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” causes earthquakes, but carriers whose policies afford coverage for quakes have recently been denying such claims, asserting that they are excluded because...more

USGS’s Increase of Texas’s Earthquake Risk Level: Commercial Real Estate and Insurance Implications

Before 2008, the greater Dallas Fort Worth area, known as the Fort Worth Basin, was almost entirely void of seismic activity. Between 1950 and 2008, the only seismic activity on record was an insignificant event that experts...more

Finding Fault with Fracking – Lawsuits and Earthquakes

Lisa Frick, our fictional Denton resident, who collected anti-fracking ordinance signatures to put on the Denton City Ballot now complains that fracking near old Texas Stadium caused earthquakes that harmed her twin sister...more

Series of Small Earthquakes Hits Dallas Area; Links to Fracking?

During a span of about 30 hours between the morning of Tuesday, January 6, and the early afternoon of Wednesday, January 7, twelve small earthquakes were confirmed by the United States Geological Survey in the Dallas area....more

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