Category: Oil & Gas

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Wyoming, Colorado Seek To Halt BLM’s Fracking Regulations; Environmental Groups Intervene

On the heels of a preliminary injunction motion filed in the action by two industry groups challenging the federal Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands, the states of Wyoming and Colorado likewise filed a preliminary injunction motion in their related case last Friday. In their brief, the states … Continue Reading

States Show Their True Colors on Fracking – One Enacts a Ban, While Two Others Prohibit All Local Bans

Three states have recently taken a stand for or against controversial bans on hydraulic fracturing. Oklahoma, Texas, and Maryland have all passed laws within the past month relating to hydraulic fracturing bans. Oklahoma Last Friday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 809, which prohibits local governments from choosing whether to have oil and gas … Continue Reading

Preliminary Injunction Motion Filed To Stop BLM’s Final Fracking Rule

Last Friday, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Western Energy Alliance (WEA) opened their arguments on a preliminary injunction motion to halt the federal Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands until resolution of the litigation. In its supporting memorandum, the IPAA and WEA detail the process … Continue Reading

New Federal Oil-By-Rail Regulations Published

Today, May 8, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a final rule for rail transport of crude oil in the Federal Register. These rules come after several high-profile oil train derailments, including one recently in North Dakota that caused the evacuation of a nearby town. The final rule applies to “high-hazard flammable … Continue Reading

New Rules on MLPs & Qualifying Income: What Oil Services and Exploration Companies Need to Know

On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released proposed regulations defining qualifying income for Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”). MLPs are publicly traded partnerships that are taxed as a partnership rather than a corporation. Being taxed as a MLP has many advantages. While shareholders in a corporation face double taxation  ̶  paying taxes … Continue Reading

Department of Energy Report Calls for U.S. to Modernize Energy Infrastructure, Invest in Natural Gas Pipelines

On Tuesday, April 21 the Obama Administration released the first Quadrennial Energy Review (“QER”) as a component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The extensive report analyzes energy infrastructure in the United States, and “identifies the threats, risks, and opportunities for U.S. energy and climate security, enabling the federal government to translate policy goals into … Continue Reading

USEPA Releases Proposed Rule on Fracking Wastewater Treatment; Says There Will be No Costs to Industry

On Tuesday, April 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register for regulation of wastewater from unconventional oil and gas operations (“UOG”), which includes hydraulic fracturing.  The rule, titled “Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category,” is a Clean Water Act … Continue Reading

North Dakota Requests to Intervene in Lawsuit Challenging Federal Fracking Regulations

On Wednesday, April 1, the state of North Dakota filed a motion to intervene in Wyoming’s lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM”) federal hydraulic fracturing regulations.  (Wyoming v. U.S. Dept. of Interior, Case No. 15-CV-43-5 (Mar. 26, 2015).)  The BLM’s Final Rule, released on March 26, 2015, governs fracking on Federal and Indian … Continue Reading

North Dakota And Others Look To Challenge New Federal Fracking Regulations

Less than one week after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its Final Rule governing hydraulic fracturing practices on federal lands, North Dakota will proceed to explore the state’s legal options for challenging the new regulations.  At their March 24 meeting, the members of the North Dakota Industrial Commission—comprised of Governor Jack Dalrymple, Attorney … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Releases Federal Fracking Regulations

Today, Friday, March 20, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), an agency within the Department of the Interior, published regulations for hydraulic fracturing on Federal and Indian lands.  The Final Rule becomes effective in 90 days and will impact about 2,800-3,800 wells each year.  In 2013, 90% of the 2,800 new wells on Federal and … Continue Reading

The Early Bird Catches the Worm: A Lesson in Submitting Drilling Applications Early to Avoid Expiration of Federal Oil and Gas Leases

As many of you know, permitting delays are not only frustrating but can have real consequences for project applicants with contractual deadlines. In the case of a federal oil and gas lease, operators should be mindful of the primary term in their lease as recently highlighted by the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) in … Continue Reading

Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Local Oil & Gas Regulations – How State Law Preemption Is Shielding the Oil and Gas Industry

In a closely watched, 4-3 decision issued yesterday, February 17, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the ‘Home Rule Amendment’ to the Ohio Constitution does not grant the city of Munroe Falls the power to enforce its own oil and gas permitting scheme simultaneously with a state-wide permitting regime. (State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck … Continue Reading

Federal Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing Spurned by Senate

On Wednesday, January 28, the Senate voted against Amendment 48 which would allow the federal Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to regulate hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) on state and private lands.  The measure was presented by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) as a negotiated amendment to the Keystone XL Pipeline Act.  The amendment would have repealed sections of … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Rules that State and Federal Law Preempts New Mexico’s Fracking Ban

On January 20, 2015 a U.S. District Judge overturned New Mexico’s ban on hydrocarbon extraction, which included a prohibition on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the state.  (SWEPI, LP v. Mora County et al., Case No. 1:14-cv-00035-JB-SCY, filed Jan. 19, 2015.) Mora County, a political subdivision of the State of New Mexico, enacted the ban through a … Continue Reading

EPA Announces Plan for Rulemaking to Reduce Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Industry

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced a new goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.  (See White House Fact Sheet.)  The EPA’s goal is to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45% from 2012 levels by 2025.  The proposed regulations will set standards to reduce methane … Continue Reading

New State Oil-By-Rail Regulations Take Effect, While Rail Capacity Is Squeezed

As we reported earlier, consideration of proposed federal rulemaking concerning crude oil-by-rail transportation recommended by the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration is underway, and, after receiving more than 3,000 submissions, the comment period closed on September 30.  Nevertheless, and despite the possibility of preemption challenges in litigation, state governments in … Continue Reading

Railroad Companies Allege Federal Law Governing Petroleum Transport Preempts SB 861

Railroad transportation of raw petroleum, often referred to as “crude-by-rail,” has received increasing media attention in recent months, due to health and environmental concerns.  California took a stab at legislating rail transport through Senate Bill 861 (“SB 861”), which the State Legislature passed in June 2014 and the Governor subsequently signed into law.  On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, a group … Continue Reading

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”), an agency within the Department of the Interior, is authoring the federal regulations for fracking on public and Indian lands.  The … Continue Reading

Mineral Law Blog Launches New Responsive Design and Enhanced Reader Features

Dear Mineral Law Blog Readers. Sharing analysis and insight about key oil, gas, pipeline and mining law developments has been our mission since launching our Blog in late 2010. While our commitment to keep you informed hasn’t changed, technology certainly has. Back when we first started posting, it was still largely a desktop- and RSS-dominated … Continue Reading

USDOT Proposes New Rules for Rail Transport of Fossil Fuels

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“Administration”), an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”), issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) for rail transport of crude oil and ethanol.  The NOPR, titled “Enhanced Tank Car and Operational Controls for High-Hazard Flammable Trains,” is available online, but has … Continue Reading

EPA Delays Potential Fracking Chemical Disclosure Mandates

On Friday, July 11, 2014 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) extended the public comment period for its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (“ANPR”) for hydraulic fracturing chemical disclosure rules.  The USEPA initially requested public comment on May 9, 2014 by issuing the ANPR.  This set a 90-day public comment period, slated to end on … Continue Reading

With Increased Federal Scrutiny, State Governments Look To Expand Oil-By-Rail Oversight

With the federal Department of Transportation’s recent emergency order impacting those who transport crude oil by rail, state governments are likewise considering additional regulatory oversight that could affect the industry in the wake of recent train derailments such as the one yesterday in Virginia. In Minnesota, where more than 800 tank cars carrying oil from … Continue Reading
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