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Fourth Circuit Upholds Chesapeake Ruling Regarding Waste Pits

On September 4, 2013, in the case of Whiteman v. Chesapeake Appalachia, L. L. C. (2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 18359 (4th Cir. W. va. 2013)), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a District Court ruling from the Northern District of West Virginia regarding claims of trespass against Chesapeake Appalachia, L. L. C. brought by the surface owners of a 101 acre parcel in Wetzel County.   The Fourth Circuit Opinion, written by Judge Faber, concluded that the District Court properly granted summary judgment to Chesapeake.  The Opinion specifically stated “that creating drill waste pits was reasonably necessary for recovery of natural gas and did not impose a substantial burden on the [Plaintiffs] surface property, that creation of the pits was consistent with Chesapeake’s rights under its lease, was a practice common to natural gas wells in West Virginia, and consistent with requirements of applicable rules and regulations for the protection of the environment.”