New York Senator Presents Bill to Permanently Ban Hydraulic Fracturing

Despite the December 2014 existing regulatory ban on hydraulic fracturing from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the new legislation – Senate Bill 6906 – is focused on providing New York with a permanent legal protection from hydraulic fracturing activities, including gelled propane fracking, a new process being advocated by the oil and gas industries. New York Sen. Jen Metzger stated that more than five years after the current ban was put in place, more than 1,000 scientific studies have been undertaken to confirm the public …

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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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Fracking Wastewater Does Not Meet Definition of “Toxic” Under Pennsylvania Law, Appellate Court Says

Pennsylvania’s appellate courts continue to be active in shaping the state’s laws surrounding hydraulic fracturing. Recently, in Protect PT v. Penn Township Zoning Hearing Board and Apex Energy (PA) LLC, the Commonwealth Court affirmed a zoning board’s decision permitting a natural gas company to store large quantities of wastewater from fracking operations at and around multiple drilling sites because it did not meet the definition of “toxic” material, as set forth under local ordinance, among other reasons.

In this decision involving multiple special exception …

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Appeals Court Leaves Potential for Hydraulic Fracturing Revival in the Delaware River Basin

Earlier this month, the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit issued a decision that leaves a glimmer of hope for hydraulic fracturing entrepreneurs in the Delaware River Basin, which encompasses portions of 24 counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware.

On July 3, a three judge panel issued an opinion on their review of a Pennsylvania federal court’s decision to grant a motion to dismiss a case for declaratory relief brought by oil and gas speculators Wayne Land and Mineral …

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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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Three hydro- fracking derricks drilling natural gas on a plain

The Delaware River Basin Commission Moves Toward Fracking Ban

While the Trump administration has ushered in an era of deregulation on the environmental front, including proposals to repeal Obama era standards governing hydraulic fracturing on government land, the Delaware River Basin Commission (the DRBC) recently made headway in the other direction. On November 30, 2017, the DRBC approved a resolution that could lead to a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River watershed, a region that includes 24 counties in portions of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The DRBC is a …

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