News & Analysis as of

The Myth of the Regulatory Gap: BLM’s Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Rule Compared to Existing State Law

For the better part of the last decade, oil and natural gas production from domestic wells has increased steadily. Technical advancements in identifying promising sources of oil and gas and extracting hydrocarbons from...more

Federal Preemption May Be The Key For Calif. Railroads

Railroad operators across the U.S. are seeing a bright future due to the resurgence in freight rail traffic. Intermodal (i.e., cargo container) shipping is booming. In 2013, intermodal volume on the major railroads totaled...more

Denton Becomes First Texas City to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing

On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 59 percent of voters elected to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing (“fracing”) in the city of Denton, which sits on top of the hydrocarbon-rich Barnett Shale. Although the ban does not...more

Ohio Elections Yield Mixed Results on Local Hydraulic Fracturing Bans

Last week’s Election Day in Ohio produced victories for fracing supporters and opponents alike. Proposed hydraulic fracturing bans were on the ballot in four different municipal contests. Voters in one city, Athens, approved...more

Election Scoreboard: Frackers 4, Anti’s 4

Hydraulic fracturing bans had eight at-bats last Tuesday. Here are the results. Denton, Texas - YES 58.64%... NO 41.36%...more

“Frac Free Denton” Faces Legal Fight

On November 4, 2014, Denton, Texas, became the first Texas city to vote to ban fracking within city limits, as covered by Reuters, the Star-Telegram, and The Wall Street Journal. The ballot initiative, which passed with just...more

Two County Fracking Prohibitions Succeed While One Fails: What the Voting Results in Santa Barbara, San Benito, and Mendocino...

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4, three counties in California presented voters with measures to ban hydraulic fracturing and other forms of intensive oil and gas operations. Voters in Santa Barbara County rejected the...more

First AIPN Model Contract for Unconventional Resource Operations

Concluding two years of work by a drafting committee comprised of more than 160 industry representatives from 26 countries spread across five continents, the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) on 25...more

City of Fort Collins, Colorado, Appeals Ruling Striking Down Fracking Bans

The week of September 22, the Fort Collins, Colorado, City Council voted to appeal a decision rendered last month that struck down the city’s fracking ban. In that August 2014 decision, a Larimer County District Court...more

Uncertainty Prevails as Illinois Delays a Decision on Fracing Regulations

Last week, Illinois’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted to push back its decision about whether to approve proposed rules governing horizontal fracturing operations until November 6. The delay promises to fuel...more

Suit by Denton, Texas, Royalty Interest Owners Could be Harbinger of More Suits If Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Ban Passes

Ahead of the November 4th vote that could make it the first city in Texas to ban hydraulic fracturing, the City of Denton has been sued by a group of royalty interest owners claiming that the city’s current temporary ban...more

Studies Identify Flawed Well Construction (not Fracturing) as Source of Gas Contamination

For the past several years, the rapid growth of oil and natural gas production from shale and other unconventional sources has prompted vocal and often sensationalized concerns regarding the potential for migration of gas...more

Senators Critique Proposed Federal Rules for Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands

On September 30, 2014, a block of twelve Democratic U.S. Senators presented a letter to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”), urging stricter fracking regulations. The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”),...more

Truth and Illusion in the Fracking Debate

Gas Flaring - According to Earthworks, gas flaring in the Bakken and Eagle Ford Shale is out of control and tons of greenhouse gases are being fired into the atmosphere; therefore, we should ban fracking. According to...more

Environmental Group Calls for Tighter Regulation of Frac Sand

The U.S. shale boom has generated a boom in a related industry: “frac sand.” Sand has become an integral component of hydraulic fracturing. Oil companies use sand as a “proppant”: after shale formations are injected with...more

California Oil and Gas Update: In-depth look at the California BLM's fracking decision

Oil and gas lease sales on public lands set to resume in 2015 based upon independent fracking report - On August 28, 2014 the California State Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signaled its intent to...more

TSCA on Hydraulic Fracturing: Gateway to New Federal Rules?

Historically, states have taken the lead in regulating oil and gas development given the states’ primary interest in securing rational oil and gas development in their own boundaries. Hydraulic fracturing—a 60-year-old...more

Drilling at depth – proposed changes to subterranean rights

The government’s consultation on underground drilling access for the extraction of gas, oil and geothermal energy came to an end on 15 August 2014. The consultation sought views on the government’s proposal to introduce new...more

Industry Group Opposes Illinois Fracking Rules

Labor groups and members of the oil and gas industry have joined together in calling for the overhaul of recently proposed rules governing fracking in the state. The pro-fracking coalition, known as Grow-IL, argues that the...more

Fracking Strategies

Advancements in the technology for the development of shale gas resources are expected to open doors to exploitation of shale gas reserves worldwide. In that context, we look at the scope of protection and the issues...more

Texas Environmental Update

Proximity to Natural Gas Wells and Reported Health Status: Results of a Household Survey in Washington County, Pennsylvania Environmental Health Perspectives, September 10, 2014 - "We conducted a hypothesis...more

Patent wars: can the energy industry avoid them?

With the technological advances and resultant surge in oil and gas production in the last few years, it is not surprising that the number of patents issued to energy companies has increased substantially. In 2012 alone, the...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - September 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus: Federal agency to resume leasing for hydraulic fracturing in California: ABC News - Aug 28: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will resume issuing oil and gas leases next year for...more

Illinois Releases New Draft of Hydraulic Fracturing Rules

Last Friday, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) released its highly anticipated revised hydraulic fracturing rules. The IDNR had taken the past year to “re-tool” its oil and gas regulations, and took into...more

TX House Subcommittee Hears Testimony from Railroad Commission Seismologist on Proposed Rules Related to Disposal Wells in...

Following the Texas Railroad Commission’s recent proposal for additional rules related to disposal wells in “high-risk” seismic areas, on Monday, August 25, members of the Texas House Subcommittee on Seismic Activity heard...more

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