Fracking Ban Defeated in New Mexico

On Aug. 3, 2021, Chief U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson rejected the effort to prevent hydraulic fracturing (fracking)—the method of extracting oil and natural gas by injecting high-pressure fluid into subterranean rock formations—near archeological and cultural sites in the Mancos Shale geological formation in New Mexico, determining that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had done sufficient environmental review to back up its decision and that it didn’t predetermine it would approve drilling permits.

In rejecting the injunction sought by the Sierra Club and …

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California Permanently Calls it Quits on Fracking

One day after Earth Day 2021, California, a state that is routinely—if somewhat surprisingly—among the top five states for oil production, placed a moratorium on new hydraulic fracturing (fracking) by 2024 and the complete end to oil extraction in the state by 2045.

Fracking, the process of extracting oil or natural gas from the earth by using certain chemicals in proportion with large amounts of water to ‘fracture’ rock formations to release crude oil and natural gas, only accounts for up to one fifth of …

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Recent Publications on the Health Effects of Fracking Make Headlines

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, remains an ever-present topic on the national political stage when discussing climate change and energy sources. During the first week of March, two articles discussing the health effects of fracking in southwestern Pennsylvania were published, garnering significant media attention to the issue.

On March 1, 2021, Environmental Health News released the results of its two-year investigation into chemical exposures affecting residents of southwestern Pennsylvania, near fracking wells. In the summer of 2019, EHN collected air, water, and urine samples from five …

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Delaware River Basin Commission Issues Permanent Ban on Fracking

The door is now closed on conducting high volume hydraulic fracking in the Delaware River basin (DRB).

On February 25, 2021, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted to finalize the temporary fracking ban they instituted in 2010 due to concerns over potential water pollution, which resulted from fracking wastewater. The DRBC was created in 1961 by President Kennedy and the governors of the four states collectively representing the 24 counties that comprise the DRB.

Over the last decade, environmentalists have been advocating for this ban …

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Pennsylvania Launches $4 Million Investigation Into Whether Fracking Causes Rare Form of Cancer in Children

Throughout the past decade, the human health effects that may be caused by hydraulic fracturing have been widely scrutinized by a variety of individuals, institutions, and experts. Allegations of health problems ranging from respiratory complications, birth defects, blood disorders, cancers, nervous system issues, and other ailments have attempted to be linked to fracking operations in some capacity, many with a low degree of scientific certainty. In response to public outcry concerning a unique situation unfolding in western Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced that his …

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Wastewater-Induced Earthquakes May Cause Rising Insurance Rates, But Are Costs Recoverable? Tenth Circuit Says No

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently dismissed a putative class action (i.e., an uncertified class), alleging that fracking operations by various natural gas companies in Oklahoma increased the risk of earthquakes in the state, causing property insurance premiums to rise for local residents.

In Meier v. Chesapeake Operating LLC, et. al., residents of Oklahoma claimed that wastewater disposal wells drilled into the Arbuckle formation, a 7,000-foot-deep sedimentary rock layer below the surface, have caused thousands of manmade earthquakes across the state since 2008.  …

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Florida Governor Takes on the Environment

Environmental remediation work is about to pick up steam in Florida. In his first major policy act, recently inaugurated Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a broad executive order last Thursday aimed at tackling numerous water and environmental issues confronting the state. DeSantis, who was inaugurated on January 8, took office facing a number of environmental crises, including unprecedented levels of the red tide bacteria that killed wildlife and closed beaches along the Gulf of Mexico last year; toxic blue-green algae that has choked the St. …

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Pennsylvania Legislators in Favor of Fracking, Seek to Join Opposition Against Delaware River Basin Commission’s Moratorium

Earlier in 2017, we reported the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to reinstate a landowner’s challenge to the Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the 24 county region, spanning across parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and New Jersey. In that decision (Wayne Land & Mineral Group LLC v. Del. River Basin Comm’n), the court held that the definition of the word “project,” as set forth in the DRBC’s governing document, the “Compact,” was ambiguous,

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Hydraulic Fracturing Update: PA Appellate Court Permits Enforcement of $1 Million Dollar Penalty Upon Fracking Operator

Recently, a Pennsylvania Appellate Court decided to permit the enforcement of a monetary penalty levied upon a driller, totaling over $1.1 million, stemming from the delay of maintenance to leaks in a damaged liner of an impoundment used to contain wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations. 

 

In EQT Production Company v. Department of Environmental Protection, Docket # 844 CD 2017, a driller challenged the extent of a monetary assessment against it by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Environmental

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New York Federal Court Rejects Landowner’s Claimed Right to Drill, But Will Challenges Continue?

A federal court in New York recently dismissed a landowner’s claim that the state’s ban on hydraulic fracturing violated the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment and due process rights.

In Morabito v. The State of New York, et. al., the plaintiffs filed a complaint in the Western District of New York, asserting that the state’s decision to prohibit high-volume fracking activities constituted a regulatory taking and/or arbitrary and irrational restriction on plaintiff’s property rights.

The plaintiffs, who are farmers, own various properties in …

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