Archives: Hydraulic Fracturing

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Illinois Releases Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations

Nearly six months after passage of the much touted Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulation Act (225 ILCS 732/1-1 et seq.) (the Act), the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) issued proposed regulations implementing the Act (the HFRA Regulations) and scheduled two public hearings to receive public input (one in Chicago on November 26, 2013 and the second in Ina … Continue Reading

Department of Justice Launches an Antitrust Investigation into Pressure Pumping Services Used in Hydraulic Fracturing

by Nicole Castle On July 24, 2013, Baker Hughes, Inc., the owner of the third-largest pressure pumping fleet in the United States, disclosed as part of its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had received a civil investigative demand (CID) from the Department of Justice (DOJ) on May 30, 2013.  The CID … Continue Reading

The DOE Approves a Second LNG Export Project: A Sign of the Future?

by Daryl Kuo As the world’s largest producer of natural gas, the United States has the potential to also become the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).  The Department of Energy (DOE), however, continues to proceed extremely cautiously with respect to authorizing LNG exports, particularly to countries that have not signed free trade agreements … Continue Reading

Increased Fracking on the Horizon in UK Gas Sector?

 by Charlotte Doerr The United Kingdom has seen significant steps forward on the shale gas exploitation front.  In light of recent discoveries of substantial reserves in the north-west of England, the ongoing debate on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has once again come to the fore.  With recent studies from the British Geological Survey estimating that the … Continue Reading

Illinois to Act on Fracing – Or Not

by Thomas L. Hefty The Illinois General Assembly could be on the verge of enacting legislation, the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (H.B 2615), that some environmental groups are touting as an environmental best practices for regulating the shale oil and gas recovery method known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracing). H.B. 2615, the result of months of negotiations … Continue Reading

New Developments in The UK Shale Gas Sector

by David Birchall and Simone Goligorsky   The shale gas sector in the United Kingdom is still in its infancy, but the UK Government has announced recently new measures and incentives to encourage its growth.  On 13 December 2012, the Government lifted a temporary suspension of drilling at the only drilling site in the United … Continue Reading

New DOE Study Fuels Debate Over LNG Exports

by Bethany K. Hatef The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) engaged the controversy over exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) with its December 5 publication of Macroeconomic Impacts of LNG Exports from the United States. Prepared for DOE by NERA Economic Consulting, the report concludes the domestic economy will benefit from LNG exports and thereby paves the … Continue Reading

New Research Finds Shale Natural Gas Production Emits Less Fugitive Methane that Previously Reported

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes Shale natural gas production emits significantly less fugitive methane than previously thought, concluded researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a November 26, 2012, study published in Environmental Research Letters.  According to the researchers, "it is incorrect to suggest that shale gas-related hydraulic fracturing has substantially altered the … Continue Reading

Department of Interior Secretary Endorses Federal Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes Speaking about upcoming Bureau of Land Management/Department of Interior (DOI) rules for hydraulic fracturing (fracing) on federal land, DOI Secretary Salazar recently opined that state regulation of fracing was insufficient and suggested that more stringent federal regulations may be required.  This is a sea change for Salazar, … Continue Reading

Reconsideration Motion Fails in Middlefield

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes Cooperstown Holstein’s attempt to reverse the trial court’s decision upholding the Town of Middlefield’s zoning ban on hydraulic fracturing has failed.  The Cooperstown Holstein case is now heading for appeal to New York’s Appellate Division, Third Department, where it likely will be consolidated with the Town of … Continue Reading

Indiana Adopts “Emergency” Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Disclosure Rule

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes As hydraulic fracturing (fracing) activity increases in Indiana, in the view of the state’s Department of Natural Resources, so too has the need for increased and updated regulations.   Last week, Indiana addressed this need in part by adopting new "emergency" regulations for fracing fluid disclosure.  These regulations … Continue Reading

New York Governor Floats Idea to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing in Majority of New York Counties

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is reportedly considering a plan that would ban hydraulic fracturing  (fracing) in all of New York with the exception of five counties along the Pennsylvania border:  Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga.  Even within those five counties, however, fracing would be strictly … Continue Reading

Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Updates in California and Pennsylvania

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes California Exploring Hydraulic Fracturing Regulation California currently has no regulations specific to fracing but has well construction standards designed to keep natural gas and oil field fluids away from underground water sources.  Fracing has taken place in California, but applications for permits to frac are reviewed on … Continue Reading

EPA Releases Final Permitting Guidance for Fracing with Diesel Fuel

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes Hydraulic fracturing (fracing) on private land has long been overseen by state regulators enforcing state-specific permitting, installation and other requirements.  The one exception is wells fractured with diesel fuel, which remain subject to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversight under the Underground Injection Control (UIC) rules of … Continue Reading

Recent Developments in Federal and State Efforts to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes Obama Signs Executive Order Creating Hydraulic Fracturing Task Force President Obama’s position that hydraulic fracturing must be conducted in a "safe and responsible" manner has been interpreted as suggesting the need for increased federal regulation of fracing. Indeed, various federal agencies have stepped forward with proposed regulations targeting … Continue Reading

UK DECC Commissioned Report Recommends Hydraulic Fracturing in Britain

by Charlotte Doerr The practice of fracing (referred to as “fracking” in the UK) in the United Kingdom has once again come under scrutiny.  The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) commissioned an independent panel to examine a possible relationship between the practice and certain earthquakes which took place in April and May … Continue Reading

EPA Releases Final Fracturing Air Rule

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released final regulations on April 17 to reduce certain emissions at hydraulically fractured wells by 95 percent.  The rule, a product of a February 2010 consent decree with WildEarth Guardians and the San Juan Citizens Alliance, adds New Source Performance Standards … Continue Reading

Maryland: Split Decision on Two Hydraulic Fracturing Bills; Permanent Ban Proposal Next?

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes Western Maryland sits atop the Marcellus Shale and, since approximately 2008, several companies have leased lands in anticipation of conducting hydraulic fracturing (fracing) operations in the area.  Those operations have been on hold since March 2011 because of a de facto moratorium on fracing that Governor O’Malley … Continue Reading

New York: Senate Bill Calls For Earthquake-Hydraulic Fracturing Study

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes The link between hydraulic fracturing activity and seismic activity has been the subject of much discussion of late, including on this blog (see "USGS Study Concludes Increased Seismicity May Be Attributable to Hydraulic Fracturing," posted on April 4, 2012).  Ohio has put in place new rules for … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania: EPA Again Concludes that Dimock Well Water Is Safe to Drink

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes At the request of residents in Dimock, PA, for the past several months EPA has been testing drinking water wells for contamination that the residents attribute to nearby fracing activities by Cabot Oil.  Earlier this month EPA concluded that the water in several of these wells was … Continue Reading

Drilling Down on Hydraulic Fracturing; EPA Dismisses “Emergency Powers” Claim in Latest Regulatory Twist

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes The practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracing) for natural gas is arguably the most visible and controversial energy/environmental issue of the day.  Federal, state and local regulators across the country are racing each other to regulate.  Academic, industry, environmental, community and a myriad of other interest groups and … Continue Reading

Hydraulic Fracturing: Air Joins Water as Point of Contention

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes The public and regulators alike continue to scrutinize the impact of hydraulic fracturing on water resources – e.g., possible contamination of drinking water; volume of water used; and disposal of used fracing wastewater.  These water issues have dominated the debate for some time, overshadowing concerns that some … Continue Reading

Updates on Hydraulic Fracturing in Pennsylvania and New York

by James A. Pardo and Brandon H. Barnes Pennsylvania Towns Challenge State Legislation Preempting Local Bans on Hydraulic Fracturing Last month, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed HB 1950, putting into place comprehensive new rules for hydraulic fracturing activity in the state.  Among the new rules are strict limits (akin to those proposed in New York) on … Continue Reading