Oil and Gas Severance Tax Bill Fails to Reach House Floor

Pennsylvania House Bill No. 1401, which would create a severance tax and significantly change oil and gas royalty payments, recently failed to pass an important legislative hurdle. The bill imposes a 3.2% severance tax, or drilling tax, on unconventio(…)

Environmental Alert: The DEP Releases a Trio of Draft Technical Guidance Documents

On October 14, 2017, the DEP published notices of availability for a trio of draft Technical Guidance Documents (TGD) in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Each of these TGDs proposes policy departures from current practices in both the form and substance of(…)

The 2017 Babst Calland Report Focuses on the Resurgence of the Appalachian Shale Gas Industry

On June 20, 2017, Babst Calland released its seventh annual energy industry report entitled The 2017 Babst Calland Report – Upstream, Midstream and Downstream: Resurgence of the Appalachian Shale Industry; Legal and Regulatory Perspective for Producer(…)

Pennsylvania Appeals Court Affirms Trial Court’s Order To Terminate A Portion Of An Oil And Gas Lease And Eject Operator

On March 17, 2017, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a trial court’s 2015 order that severed and terminated a portion of an oil and gas lease.  The subject lease covered 240 acres located in Venango County, Pennsylvania, which was subsequent(…)

Pennsylvania Appeals Court Vacates Denial of Class Certification of Lessors to Oil and Gas Leases in Clearfield County

On January 17, 2017, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania vacated a trial court’s order denying class certification of two classes of lessors to oil and gas leases covering property in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania in Cardinale v. R.E. Gas Dev., 2017(…)

PADEP’s Chapter 78a Rulemaking Goes into Effect for Unconventional Operations in Pennsylvania

On Saturday October 8, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s new Chapter 78a regulations associated with unconventional wells went into effect when they were published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.  For unconventional well op(…)

PA Supreme Court Strikes Down Additional Provisions of Act 13

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared the last remaining challenged sections of Act 13 of 2012 to be invalid in an opinion issued September 28, 2016 in the Robinson Township v. Commonwealth line of cases.  Read more about it in our Administrative Wa(…)

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Affirms Title Washing

On July 19, in Herder Spring Hunting Club v. Keller (Case No. 5 MAP 2015), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in a 5-0 decision to confirm the practice of “title washing” of unseated or unimproved land in Pennsylvania. Prior to January 1, 1948, “tit(…)

PA Federal Court Finds Operator Obligated to Pay Bonuses Under Surrendered Lease

On July 15, a Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania found that SWEPI LP (“SWEPI”) was obligated to pay bonuses under an oil and gas lease that it had surrendered prior to a 90 day title verification period. In Masci(…)

Governor Signs the Pennsylvania Grade Crude Development Act

On June 23, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed the Pennsylvania Grade Crude Development Act (S.B. 279), which abrogates the Environmental Quality Board’s revisions to the Chapter 78 regulations concerning conventional oil and natural gas wells.  The Act p(…)

Shell Officially Announces it will Build Ethane Cracker Plant in Beaver County, PA

After first acquiring an option agreement in 2012 for a 340-acre site, and then purchasing the site in 2014, Shell Chemical Appalachia has officially announced that it will build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant on the site of the former Ho(…)

District Court Upholds Primacy of Lease’s Change of Ownership Clause

On May 20, 2016, the Middle District of Pennsylvania granted summary judgment in favor of Babst Calland’s client in Montrose Hillbillies II, LLP v. WPX Energy Keystone, LLP and Stern Marcellus Holdings, LLC , a case involving the extension of the prim(…)

PA DEP Secretary Quigley Resigns

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on Friday that he accepted the resignation of John Quigley as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.  The Governor thanked Mr. Quigley for his service to the commonwealth and stated that, effe(…)

House ERE Committee Moves to Bar Chapter 78/78a Regulatory Package

On May 3, 2016, the Pennsylvania House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee (“ERE Committee”) voted 19-8 to advance a concurrent resolution that would disapprove the Chapter 78/78a regulations that were approved for promulgation by the Environ(…)

Pennsylvania DEP Expanding Air Monitoring Network Near Natural Gas Development

On April 27, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it has initiated an “unprecedented expansion” of the Commonwealth’s particulate matter air monitoring network to include additional monitors in areas near(…)

Statement from Environmental Regulatory Attorney Jean Mosites Who Testified at Yesterday’s Chapter 78 Hearing in Harrisburg

The following statement is from Babst Calland environmental regulatory attorney Jean Mosites who provided testimony at yesterday’s daylong public hearing on the subject of proposed revisions to 25 Pa. Code Chapter 78 submitted by the Department of Env(…)

Pennsylvania IRRC Approves Chapter 78/78a Regulations

On April 21, 2016, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) approved the Environmental Quality Board’s Chapter 78 (conventional wells) and Chapter 78a (unconventional wells) regulations by a vote of 3-2.  Vice Chairman Mizner, in making a m(…)

TransCanada to Buy Columbia Pipeline Group

According to a report by the Charleston Gazette-Mail, TransCanada will be purchasing Columbia Pipeline Group for $13 billion. TransCanada had previously proposed the Keystone XL pipeline, and owns more than 42,000 miles of pipeline in North America. (…)

PADEP Releases Final Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Report

On February 18, 2016, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) Secretary John Quigley held a press conference to announce the release of the final Governor’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force (PITF) Report.  Secretary Quigley state(…)

Governor Wolf Tries Again for PA Severance Tax

StateImpact Pennsylvania reports that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf wants natural gas drillers to pay a 6.5% severance tax on natural gas production, which he estimates will bring in $217.8 million dollars for the 2016/2017 fiscal year, a fraction of(…)

New PA Legislation Would Allow Gas Pipelines to Run Along Turnpike

As reported by The Scranton Times-Tribune, Pennsylvania State Representative Scott Petri (R-178th Leg. Dist., Bucks County) recently introduced legislation that would allow the Turnpike Commission to grant pipeline operators the right to use its exist(…)

Environmental Quality Board Adopts Chapter 78/78a Rulemaking

On February 3, 2016, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) adopted significant revisions to the Commonwealth’s oil and natural gas regulations by a vote of 15 to 4.  EQB’s vote formally splits current Chapter 78 (Oil and Gas Wells) into n(…)

Administrative Watch: Pennsylvania Methane Reduction Strategy Expected to Transform Air Program for Oil and Natural Gas Sector

On January 19, 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a sweeping new regulatory strategy for reducing methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations in the Commonwealth.  Methane, the(…)

Commonwealth Court Affirms Lycoming County Ruling In Favor of UGI

As previously reported, in November 2014, the Lycoming County Court of Common Pleas granted the condemnation of a temporary construction easement to UGI Penn Natural Gas, Inc., a public utility.  As a result, UGI was allowed to use the easement to par(…)

Pennsylvania Supreme Court To Determine Standard For Constitutional Challenges Under the Environmental Rights Amendment

As reported by Law360, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will allow argument after the January decision by the Commonwealth Court in Pa. Envtl. Def. Found. v. Commonwealth, 108 A.3d 140, 45 ELR 20006, in order to determine how judges should approach gove(…)

Court Requires $5.69 Million Bond For Objector To Well Pad To Move Forward With Appeal

Babst Calland represents an oil and gas operator in Lycoming County, PA, where a recent court order requires an objector to a well pad to post a $5.69 million bond in order to move forward with a land use appeal.  The basic facts of the case are descr(…)

Court Upholds Zoning Ordinance Permitting Oil and Gas Well Development In Agricultural/Residential Zoning District

On October 21, 2015, Judge Richard McCormick, President Judge of the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, issued a decision and order upholding the validity of Allegheny Township’s zoning ordinance, which permits oil and gas well development in(…)

Federal Court Invalidates Portions of a Local Ordinance, Which Banned the Use of Underground Injection Wells

On October 14, 2015, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania invalidated several provisions of a Grant Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania local ordinance that was intended to prevent an oil and gas operator from o(…)

Pa. Commonwealth Court Reverses Controversial Lycoming County Decision

Earlier today, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued a unanimous decision in the much-anticipated case of Gorsline v. Board of Supervisors of Fairfield Township, reversing the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County. In reversing(…)

Court Rules That Gas Lease Was Not Forfeited

The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled on Friday that an oil and gas lease was not forfeited by the failure of the operators to pay delay rentals. In Dewing v. Abarta Oil & Gas Co., the landowners (the “Dewings”) executed an oil and gas lease that(…)

Pennsylvania DEP Releases Latest Revisions Of Oil And Gas Rulemaking

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced the draft final revisions to the “Environmental Protection Performance Standards at Oil and Gas Well Sites” rulemaking (Chapters 78 and 78a).  Following the most recent r(…)

Court Holds 1961 Dual Purpose Lease Still In Effect

In the case titled Mason v. Range Res.-Appalachia LLC (2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97471), the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania recently held that a 1961 oil and gas lease remained in effect pursuant to the terms of the(…)

Shell Closes On Purchase Of Proposed Cracker Plant Site

Horsehead Holding Corp. (Horsehead) announced Monday that it closed on the sale of its former zinc smelter to Shell Chemical (Shell), which is the proposed site for an ethane cracker plant in Beaver County. Although Shell has not made a final decision(…)

Energy Transfer Partners to Invest $1.5 Billion for Marcellus Shale Midstream Project in Pennsylvania

Energy Transfer Partners LP announced that it will invest $1.5 billion for a new pipeline system and processing facilities to serve the Marcellus Shale in and around Butler County, Pennsylvania.  The new facilities are expected to be operational by mi(…)

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Creates Task Force on Pipeline Infrastructure Development

On May 27, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the formation of a task force to help the Commonwealth, the natural gas industry and communities partner for the development of new pipeline infrastructure to allow natural gas and related bypr(…)

EQT Executive Nominated As Commissioner Of The PUC

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Governor Tom Wolf nominated Andrew Place to serve as commissioner on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.  Mr. Place is currently the corporate director for energy and environmental policy.  He was selec(…)

Pennsylvania DEP Releases 2013 Emissions Inventory for Natural Gas Industry

Earlier this week the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released the 2013 air emissions inventory for the natural gas industry.  Operators submit emissions data to DEP on an annual basis.  Compared to 2012, the 2013 inventory i(…)

Constitution Pipeline Can Be Built Across Holdout Properties

FuelFix.com reports that the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania recently ruled that the Constitution Pipeline can be built across seven northeastern Pennsylvania properties despite the fact that the respective landowners had n(…)

Third Circuit Affirms Decision to Dismiss Doctor's Act 13 Challenge

In a recent non-precedential opinion, the Third Circuit affirmed a decision of the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissing an action on the basis that a doctor lacked standing to challenge what he refers to as the “Medical Gag Rules” of Act 13.  In(…)

Tioga County, PA Utica Well Shows Strong Production

Business Wire reports that Seneca Resources Corporation (“Seneca”) announced the initial production results from its recently completed well producing from the Utica shale formation in Tioga County, Pennsylvania.  The well’s 24-hour peak production ra(…)

Marcellus Shale Coalition Releases Statement On PA Governor Wolf’s Budget Proposal

During his March 3, 2015 budget address, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf again proposed higher energy taxes.  In response, the Marcellus Shale Coalition issued a statement, reiterating the vast benefits that have been realized by the Commonwealth as a(…)

Pennsylvania Natural Gas Operator Prevails in Air Aggregation Case

Earlier this week, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of a natural gas operator in a closely-watched case involving air aggregation issues.  In 2011, Citizens for Pennsylvania(…)

Pennsylvania High Court Prohibits Tolling of Oil and Gas Leases During Litigation

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued Harrison v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., a significant opinion in which the Court refused to apply equitable tolling principles that other oil and gas jurisdictions have adopted.  Such principles prevent(…)

PA Governor Wolf Proposes Gas Severance Tax

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf proposed a 5% severance tax on natural gas production.  Though specific details are not yet available, Wolf recommended a tax modeled after West Virginia’s severance tax, which currently taxes gas at a rate of 5% and imp(…)

PA Governor Tom Wolf Bans New Gas Leases For Commonwealth-Owned Lands

Today, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf fulfilled a campaign promise by signing an executive order banning new oil and gas leases on public land owned by the Commonwealth.  This order ended the efforts of former Governor Tom Corbett to expand oil and ga(…)

Court Rules That Search For Heirs Of Oil And Gas Estate Deficient

On January 27, 2015, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed an order by the Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County in Sisson, et al. v. Stanley, et al.   The trial court’s order allowed the heirs of Joseph Stanley, who previously reserved all t(…)

Proposed Bill Would Provide Public Utility Commission With Power To Order Unitization In Some Circumstances

On January 23, 2015, Pennsylvania Senator Gene Yaw introduced Senate Bill 313 (SB 313), which would provide a process for persons actively engaged in the business of extracting oil or gas, who own or leased at least 65% of the working interests in a p(…)

Three Oil and Gas Bills Pass Pennsylvania Senate Panel

A Pennsylvania senate committee recently unanimously approved two bills regarding oil and gas royalty calculations.  StateImpact Pennsylvania reported that Senate Bills 147 and 148 were approved by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committ(…)

PEDF v. Corbett: Appropriations From The Oil And Gas Lease Fund Do Not Violate The Environmental Rights Amendment

On January 7, 2015, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania entered an opinion and order in the case Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (“PEDF”) sought decla(…)

PADEP Finalizes Changes to GP-5 Air Permit

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has finalized revisions to the General Plan Approval and/or General Operating Permit (BAQ-GPA/GP-5 or General Permit) for Natural Gas Compression and/or Processing Facilities (known as “GP-(…)

Pennsylvania TENORM Report Concludes "Little Potential for Harm"

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced the results of its highly anticipated study on potential exposure to Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) associated with oil and gas de(…)

PA Governor-Elect Wolf Nominates for PADEP and DCNR Cabinet Posts

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pennsylvania Governor-Elect Tom Wolf has announced the nominations of individuals to head some of the state agencies.  He announced the nomination of John Quigley, who served as the Secretary of the Department(…)

FERC Approves Additional Pipeline Expansion to Transport Marcellus Gas

StateImpact reported that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently approved an addition to the interstate Transco pipeline that will transport Marcellus shale gas to New Jersey, where there is a high demand.  The approval comes after several(…)

FERC Approves Interstate Pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York and New England

StateImpact, a reporting collaboration supported by NPR, that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a proposed interstate pipeline that would transport Marcellus Shale natural gas from Pennsylvania to New York and New England markets. (…)

Pennsylvania Superior Court Emphasizes Significance Of Title Searches In Trespass Action

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently ruled that constructive notice of a title defect may toll the running of the statute of limitations and affect damages for an action in trespass and conversion to oil and gas rights in Sabella v. Appalachian De(…)

Pennsylvania Now Second-Largest Shale Gas Producer in United States

A recently released report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”) indicates that last year Pennsylvania became the second-largest shale gas producing state, only falling behind Texas in the amount of gross withdrawals from shale gas w(…)

Southwestern And DTE Energy Sign Deal To Expand Bluestone Gathering System

Southwestern Energy Company and Detroit-based DTE Energy Company have made a deal to expand DTE’s natural gas gathering system in Susquehanna County, PA by 50%. The Bluestone Gathering System delivers gas from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania throu(…)

Pennsylvania Court Grants Condemnation Of A Temporary Construction Easement To Operator

The Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania recently granted the condemnation of a temporary construction easement to UGI Penn Natural Gas, Inc. (UGI).  UGI is a public utility, regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. (…)

Pennsylvania DEP Proposes Changes to GP-5 Air Permit for Compression, Processing Facilities

On Saturday, November 15th, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) published proposed changes to its General Plan Approval and/or General Operating Permit (BAQ-GPA/GP-5 or General Permit) for Natural Gas Compression and/or Proce(…)

UGI Utilities Connects a Utica Well to its Distribution System

According to a report published by Pennsylvania Business Daily, Reading-based UGI Utilities, Inc. recently became Pennsylvania’s first natural gas utility to connect one of its pipelines to a Utica Shale well, thereby increasing the supply of natural(…)

Unconventional Well Report Act Signed Into Law

On October 22, 2014, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed House Bill 2278, The Unconventional Well Report Act, into law. The Act requires operators of unconventional wells to submit monthly production reports to the Department of Environmental Pro(…)

Recording of Surrender Documents from Oil and Natural Gas Lease Act Signed Into Law

On October 22, 2014, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed House Bill 402, also known as the Recording of Surrender Documents from Oil and Natural Gas Lease Act, into law.  The Act imposes a duty on a lessee to deliver a surrender document to a les(…)

Bills Affecting Production Reporting And Lease Termination Pass PA House and Senate

Two bills primarily sponsored by PA Representative Tina Pickett (Republican, Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) have recently passed the State House and Senate. House Bill (HB) 2278, Unconventional Well Report Act, would require the operator of an unconve(…)

Southwestern Energy to Acquire 413,000 Acres in West Virginia and Pennsylvania from Chesapeake Energy

Southwestern Energy Co. announced that it has signed a deal to acquire 413,000 net acres in West Virginia and Pennsylvania from Chesapeake Energy Corp. for $5.375 billion, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times.  This acquisition includes 256 producing(…)

Zoning Hearing Board Erred When It Denied Application for Natural Gas Compressor Station

On September 26, 2014, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued an opinion in favor of MarkWest Liberty Midstream & Resources, LLC.  MarkWest had purchased a 71.5 acre parcel of undeveloped land in Cecil Township, Pennsylvania, and had applie(…)

Severance Tax Bill Proposed In The Pennsylvania House

A bill that would amend taxation on oil and gas drilling was referred to the Pennsylvania House Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy on Monday. House Bill 2508, which was introduced by Margo Davidson (Democrat, Delaware County) and others,(…)

Colleges in Western PA Offer Programs Geared Toward Energy Industry

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that colleges located in Western Pennsylvania are creating programs to prepare students for jobs in the energy industry.  For example, Kennedy Township’s Rosedale Technical Institute (soon to be re-named Rosedale(…)

Shell Finds Utica Success in Tioga County

The Pittsburgh Business Times reported that Shell has drilled two producing wells in the Utica Shale formation in Tioga County, Pennsylvania.  Shell credited its success to “solid technical work in [its] onshore business.”  The two wells are many mile(…)

PA Bill Would Permit Severance Tax Without Repealing Impact Fee

On August 25th, Rep. White (D-Allegheny, Beaver and Washington) introduced House Bill 2403 (2014) in order to repeal Section 2318 of Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. Section 2318 provides that upon the imposition of a(…)

Oil And Gas Bringing People And Jobs To The Region

Thanks in large part to the oil and gas industry, western Pennsylvania is experiencing a boom in job growth which is bringing young and talented individuals to the region.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania’s oil and natur(…)

Kiskiminetas Township Approves Oil and Gas Ordinance

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Kiskiminetas Township supervisors unanimously enacted an ordinance that will allow for oil and natural gas exploration.  The ordinance allows for “reasonable development of land for oil and gas drilling while(…)

Pennsylvania’s Natural Gas Production Hits New High in First Half of Year

As reported in the Pittsburgh Business Times, Pennsylvania’s reported natural gas production in the first six months of 2014 reached 1.9 trillion cubic feet.  Production is up from 1.7 trillion cubic feet reported over the second half of 2013 and 1.4(…)

Public Utility Commission Appeals Act 13 Ruling

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission appealed the Commonwealth Court’s July 17, 2014 Opinion and Order in the Act 13 case, which resolved a number of issues remanded by the Supreme Court. Review Babst Calland’s Administrative Watches for in-dept(…)

Proposed PA Legislation Seeks to Require Use of Steel Products Produced in U.S.

Two pieces of proposed legislation were introduced to the Pennsylvania Senate on Thursday, July 31. Each has been referred to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. Senate Bill 1458, if passed, would amend Title 58 by requiring that(…)

Commonwealth Court Issues Decision On Remaining Issues In Act 13 Case

In its far-reaching decision in Robinson v. Commonwealth, which was issued on December 19, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated several critical provisions of Act 13.  Additionally, the Supreme Court remanded to the Commonwealth Court to a(…)

Lackawanna County Landfill Approved to Receive Fluid Waste

As reported by the Wilkes Barre Times-Leader, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) recently approved a solid waste disposal permit modification to allow Keystone Sanitary Landfill (“Keystone”), located in Lackawanna County,(…)

Pennsylvania’s Landlord and Tenant Act Is not Applicable to Oil and Gas Leases

In a recent opinion, the Pennsylvania Superior Court addressed whether Pennsylvania’s Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 (the “Act”), and the applicable statute of frauds contained therein, applies to oil and gas leases.  In Nolt v. TS Calkins & Asso(…)

Rice Energy to Acquire Wells and Acreage in Greene County

The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that Rice Energy Inc. is acquiring 12 wells and 22,000 net acres in Greene County, Pennsylvania from Chesapeake Energy Inc.  Seven of the wells are currently producing and the five other wells are being developed,(…)

Warren Resources to Acquire Marcellus Assets

Warren Resources has executed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire Marcellus shale assets from Citrus Energy Corporation and two other working interest owners, reports Shale Energy Insider.  The acquired assets, located in Wyoming County, Pennsylv(…)

PA House and Senate Pass Budget Without Severance Tax

Marcellus Drilling News reports that the Pennsylvania House and Senate passed a budget that did not include a Marcellus Shale severance tax.  Governor Tom Corbett withheld his signature while he continues to work with lawmakers on pension reform.

Pennsylvania DEP Adopts New Rule Increasing Unconventional Well Permit Fees

On Friday, June 13, 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) adopted a final rulemaking that increased well permit fees for unconventional wells in Pennsylvania for the first time since October 24, 2009.  The new rule, whi(…)

Jefferson Hills Council Adopts Ordinance Setting Oil and Gas Drilling Districts

The Jefferson Hills (PA) Borough Council recently voted to adopt an ordinance which establishes zoning districts for oil and gas drilling.  The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the Council wants to have more control over the location of drillin(…)

PA House Bill Would Require DCNR Leases of State Forest Land To Face Public Scrutiny

As reported by Law360, Representative Rick Mirabito, D-Lycoming, recently introduced House Bill 2318, which, if passed into law, would require the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to provide notice and require public input(…)

Babst Calland Releases Fourth Annual Energy Industry Report

“The 2014 Babst Calland Report – Appalachian Shale Industry in Transition: Evolving Challenges for Producers and Midstream Operators” comments on key issues facing producers and midstream operators from a legal and regulatory perspective, including: G(…)

Allocation of Act 13 Well Fee Announced

Last week, Governor Tom Corbett announced that county and municipal allocations of the Act 13 well fee, which totaled $225 million for calendar year 2013, were available for review on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s website.  The $225 mil(…)

New Processing and Fractionation Infrastructure Planned for Butler County

The Wall Street Journal reported that MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. recently announced that a new cryogenic processing facility called Bluestone II will be commenced in Butler County, Pennsylvania. The new facility will increase the processing capaci(…)

PA Senate Bill Requires Environmental Quality Board To Differentiate Between Well Types

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1378 was recently referred to the Senate’s Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.  If adopted, the bill would require the Environmental Quality Board to differentiate regulations between those relating to conventional o(…)

Pa. Senators Propose New Natural Gas Tax

On Thursday, a group of Pennsylvania state legislators, led by Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia), unveiled a proposal that would impose a 5% severance tax on drillers operating in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale industry.  According to the legislato(…)

Pennsylvania Superior Court Issues "Title Wash" Opinion

On May 9, 2014, in the case of Herder Spring Hunting Club v. Keller, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania issued an opinion addressing the termination of outstanding oil and gas interests through a tax sale in Pennsylvania.  The property at issue was su(…)

Pennsylvania DEP Releases Inaugural Oil and Gas Annual Report

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released its inaugural Oil and Gas Annual Report, which showcases DEP’s regulation of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry.  The Report describes the structure of DEP’s Oil and Gas(…)

IRRC Approves Increase In Oil And Gas Well Fees

The PA Environment Digest reports that the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) approved an Environmental Quality Board regulation increasing oil and gas well fees.  Additional information regarding IRRC’s approval can be found at its websi(…)

Allegheny County Council Approves Drilling Under Deer Lakes Park

As reported by the Pittsburgh Business Times, the Allegheny County Council voted to approve a non-surface lease and drilling plan with Range Resources under Deer Lakes Park. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said that the plan would provide f(…)

Findlay Township Approves Drill Sites At Pittsburgh International Airport

On April 23, 2014, the Findlay Township Board of Supervisors approved the conditional use application of CONSOL Energy, Inc.’s affiliate, CNX Gas Company LLC, to construct on the property of the Pittsburgh International Airport 6 well pads, up to 60 u(…)

Legislation Concerning Seismic Testing in Pennsylvania to be Introduced

On April 24, 2014, Representative Robert Matzie of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, indicated in a statement that he will introduce legislation concerning liability for damage caused by a party conducting seismic testing.  The statement indi(…)

Administrative Watch: RACT Rulemaking Expected to Impact Major Sources of NOx and VOC Emissions in Pennsylvania

Proposed regulatory amendments published on April 19, 2014 are likely to affect hundreds of facilities in Pennsylvania.  The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) has estimated that 141 sources will need to install additional pol(…)

Federal Judge Enjoins Hempfield Township From Prohibiting Seismic Testing

On April 10, 2014, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction forcing Hempfield Township to permit ION Geophysical of Houston (ION) to perform seismic testing on the Township’s roads.  Hempfield Township argued that it does not specifically perm(…)

Judge Denies Requests to Intervene in Act 13 Case

On April 9, 2014, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini denied the petition to intervene of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, Marcellus Shale Coalition and American Petroleum Institute in the Act 13 litigat(…)

2013 PA Act 13 Well Fees Expected to Generate $224.5 Million

Governor Tom Corbett announced on Friday that the state of Pennsylvania expects to collect $224.5 million in 2014 through Act 13’s well fee assessed on unconventional wells.  This figure represents an 11% increase over the previous year.  Since Act 13(…)

Pa. Farm Bureau Supports Passage of Royalty Legislation

NPR’s StateImpact Pennsylvania reports that the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is getting involved in the debate over minimum royalties. As we have previously posted, House Bill 1684 is currently in the state House. If passed, the bill would guarantee lando(…)

PADEP Releases 2012 Emissions Data

This week the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) announced the availability of emissions data from oil and gas operations in the Commonwealth.  According to the PADEP press release, the data represents “2012 emissions levels f(…)

Utica and Marcellus to Provide Gas to TransCanada's ANR Pipeline

TransCanada Corporation’s ANR Pipeline system has secured nearly 2.0 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas transportation commitments for the movement of oil and gas produced from the Utica and Marcellus formations through its Southeast Main Line.(…)

Shell and Beaver County Commissioners Discuss Proposed Ethane Cracker Plant

The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that the Beaver County Board of Commissioners and representatives from Royal Dutch Shell met to discuss the next planning steps for the proposed cracker plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.  Although the meeting(…)

Allegheny County May Lease Rights Under Deer Lakes Park

The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that Allegheny County has reached a deal with Range Resources and Huntley & Huntley as to leasing the oil and gas under Deer Lakes Park in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzg(…)

Advocates From PA, Ohio, West Virginia Urge Common Approach To Shale Gas Taxation

As reported by Pittsburgh’s NPR News Station, 90.5 WESA, three advocacy groups, Leaders of Policy Matters Ohio, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, and the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, sent a letter to the governors of Ohio, Pen(…)

Production of Marcellus Shale Gas within Pennsylvania Continues to Increase

The Times Leader reports that natural gas produced within Pennsylvania from the Marcellus Shale exceeded 3 trillion cubic feet in 2013.  This total exceeds the production total from 2012.  According to the report, the U.S. Department of Energy estimat(…)

Pennsylvania Court Rules Seneca Has Rights On Game Land

On January 27th, 2014, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania overruled in part and sustained in part the preliminary objections of Seneca Resources Corporation (Seneca) to a complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (Commission).  The Commi(…)

Severance Tax Bill Introduced in PA House to Benefit Transportation

Kevin Haggerty, a Democratic state representative from the northeast region of Pennsylvania, recently introduced House Bill 1947 to impose a 5% severance tax on the gross value of each unit severed, plus an additional 4.6 cents per unit.  “Unit” is de(…)

Pennsylvania DEP Releases Guidance to Assist Operators with Well Integrity Assessments and Air Permitting Issues

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently published on its website a series of video training tutorials to provide guidance on how to complete quarterly well inspections under the Mechanical Integrity Assessment (MIA) requ(…)

Governor Corbett Asks Operators to Continue to Adhere to Setback Provisions

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has requested that oil and gas operators continue to help protect the rivers, streams and wetlands by adhering to environmental standards, including setback provisions, that we(…)

Commonwealth Asks Pennsylvania Supreme Court To Reconsider Act 13 Decision

As reported in December, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on December 19, 2013 invalidated portions of Act 13, including provisions limiting local government control and provisions regarding setbacks from the waters of the Commonwealth, pursuant to Arti(…)

Shell Granted Extension for Cracker Plant

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reported that Horsehead Corp. and Shell Chemical LP have extended their land option agreement for a third time, giving Shell more time to decide whether it will build an ethane cracker on the site of Horsehead’s Be(…)

Title V Facilities in Pennsylvania to Pay $85 Per Ton of Regulated Pollutant Emissions

On December 14, 2013, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) amended the Title V annual emission fee assessed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)’s Bureau of Air Quality, increasing the fee to $85 per ton of “regulated poll(…)

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decides Act 13 Case

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that several critical provisions of Act 13, the General Assembly’s 2012 comprehensive update to the former Oil and Gas Act, are unconstitutional.  In addition to invalidating a key section of Act 13 placing lim(…)

Members of the PA House To Introduce A Severance Tax Bill

On December 12, 2013, several Pennsylvania state representatives announced their plan to introduce a bill creating a severance tax on unconventional natural gas extraction.  The proposed tax, which would replace Act 13’s existing impact fee, would be(…)

Pennsylvania DEP Announces Chapter 78 Comment Period, Webinars and EQB Public Hearing Schedule

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a press release to announce the opening of the public comment period for its long-awaited proposal to revise the oil and gas regulations at 25 Pa. Code Chapter 78 (environment(…)

Pennsylvania Senate Confirms Two Nominees to Lead Environmental Agencies

Earlier this week, the Senate of Pennsylvania unanimously confirmed Ellen Ferretti as Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and in a 42-8 vote, also confirmed Chris Abruzzo as Secretary of the Department of Environm(…)

Newly Elected MSC Executive Board Officers Announced

The Marcellus Shale Coalition has announced the newly elected officers of its 2014 Executive Board.  K. Scott Roy, Range Resources Corporation’s Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs, was elected as the chairman.  Heather Lamparter (Vice(…)

Rice Energy Takes Steps Towards Initial Public Offering

The Pittsburgh Business Times reported yesterday that Rice Energy Inc. is planning for an initial public offering sometime during the first quarter of 2014.  Rice confirmed that it filed a Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Pipelin(…)

Minimum Gas Royalties Not Divisible In Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently held in Southwestern Energy Production Company, et al. v. Forest Resources, LLC, et al. that an “assignment back” clause that results in a lessor’s net royalty being less than one-eighth violates the Pennsylvan(…)

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declines To Hear Appeal In Caldwell v. Kriebel

On November 26, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the Superior Court’s decision in Caldwell v. Kriebel Resources Co., which held that an oil and gas lease does not contain an implied duty to develop all strata.  The Su(…)

Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board Dismisses Request To Establish Well Spacing And Drilling Units

On August 26, 2013, Hilcorp Energy Company (Hilcorp) filed a complaint and application requesting that the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (PAEHB) issue an order to establish well spacing and drilling units pursuant to the Oil and Gas Conserv(…)

Third Circuit Rules In Favor Of Shell Because Of Lease Unitization Clause

On November 18, 2013, the Third Circuit affirmed a summary judgment ruling out of the Middle District of Pennsylvania in favor of Shell Western Exploration and Production, LP (Shell) in a case captioned as George W. Linder, et al. v. SWEPI, LP, a/k/a(…)

Allegheny County Council Rejects Proposal To Ban Drilling In County Parks

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Allegheny County Council rejected a proposed three-year moratorium on natural gas drilling within county parks.  The measure failed 2-9, with four council members abstaining because of conflicts of interest.  T(…)

Federal District Court Denies Request To Use Eminent Domain Authority To Relocate Interstate Gas Pipeline

On October 24, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania denied Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC’s (Columbia) request to use the eminent domain authority provided in the Natural Gas Act to acquire new pipeline easements from(…)

PUC Approves Merger and Transfer of Certain Pipeline Assets

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) unanimously approved a settlement that merges Equitable Gas Co. with Peoples Natural Gas Co. and transfers certain pipeline assets from Peoples to EQT Corp., the parent company of Equitable.  The PUC(…)

Local CNG Stations Could Double Over the Next Two Years

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the number of compressed natural gas stations could double over the next two years.  The increase is a result of a number of companies converting their vehicle fleets to run on CNG.  Recently, Shale Hotels Inc.(…)

Middle District of Pennsylvania Dismisses Physician's Challenge to Act 13

On October 23rd, the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissed Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez’s complaint challenging Act 13’s so-called “Medical Gag Act.”  If, during the course of treating a patient, a health professional deems it necessary for an operator t(…)

Royalty Reduction Lawsuit Moves Forward With Class Certification

The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has accepted in part the recommendations of a magistrate judge, and has granted the motion to certify two classes of plaintiffs in Pollock v. Energy Corp. of America. A third cl(…)

Transco Asks FERC to Authorize Leidy Southeast Project

Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (“Transco”) recently filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) for authorization to construct and operate the Leidy Southeast Project.  According to the application, the Lei(…)

Land Owner Concedes Strict Liability Claim in Compressor Station Case

Penn State Marcellus Shale Law Blog reports that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania recently granted in part and denied in part Texas Eastern Transmission, L.P.’s motion to dismiss and or strike a personal injury complain(…)

Group Contemplates City Of Philadelphia Pipeline Construction Project

Steered by an executive of Philadelphia Energy Solutions, a group of business and political leaders is discussing the extent to which a natural gas pipeline can be constructed that would connect the natural gas fields of the Marcellus Shale to the Cit(…)

STRONGER Issues Final Report Regarding its Follow-up Review Of Pennsylvania Oil And Gas Regulatory Program

As we reported back in May of this year, a review team assembled by the State Review of Oil & Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (“STRONGER”) completed an in-state review of Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Regulatory Program.  STRONGER’s review team(…)

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Final Spill Policy Published

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will publish its final technical guidance document “Addressing Spills and Releases at Oil & Gas Well Sites or Access Roads” in the September 21, 2013 Pennsylvania Bulletin.  The proposed Spil(…)

Sen. Ferlo Intends to Introduce Pennsylvania Moratorium Bill

WFMJ reports that  State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) announced that he will introduce Senate Bill 1100 next week, which will place a moratorium on new permits for hydraulic fracturing.  The bill, known as the Natural Gas Drilling Moratorium Act, will(…)

EQT Corporation and Green Field Energy Services Team Up for Eco-Friendly Hydraulic Drilling Process

EQT Corporation and Green Field Energy Services announced on Monday that they had achieved a major milestone in the hydraulic fracturing field.  Using pumps powered entirely by “field” gas, or gas supplied from a separate (and previously drilled) natu(…)

CNG Station Opens in Cranberry Township

The Pittsburgh Business Times recently reported that Giant Eagle and Peoples Natural Gas have partnered to open a compressed natural gas filling station at the GetGo station in Cranberry Township on Route 228.  According to the article, Giant Eagle ex(…)

Pennsylvania EQB Approves PADEP's Proposed Oil And Gas Regulations

As previously reported on the Babst Calland Shale Energy Law Blog, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board considered and approved the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (“PADEP”) proposed regulations regarding Subchapter C to(…)

Shell Solicits Bids For Ethane From Proposed Cracker Plant

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Shell Chemical, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, has begun to solicit ethane commitments from Marcellus Shale operators for its proposed Beaver County, Pennsylvania cracker plant.  The company has already secur(…)

Pennsylvania Rulemaking Body to Consider Revisions to Oil and Gas Regulations

The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board, the Commonwealth’s environmental rulemaking body, will consider proposed rulemaking to Subchapter C to Chapter 78 of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas regulations during its next meeting on August 27, 2013.

Federal Court Determines Predrilling Activities Extend Term Of Lease

On August 13th, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania granted partial summary judgment in favor of Chief Exploration & Development and other defendants (Chief) in a consolidated case regarding the extension of th(…)

Essroc Cement Files Lawsuit To Halt NiSource/Hilcorp Pipeline In Lawrence County

Essroc Cement Corporation, with locations scattered across the Midwest and Northeast, has filed a federal lawsuit in Pittsburgh, seeking to stop a planned pipeline from crossing property in Lawrence County. The pipeline is a joint venture operation be(…)

PA Representative Wants Pooling Provisions Repealed

As reported by the Pittsburgh Business Times, Pennsylvania Representative Michele Brooks (R-Crawford) issued a memorandum on August 12, 2013 to all House members regarding her intent to introduce two pieces of legislation regarding pooling in the near(…)

Beaver County Creates Tax-Exempt Zone For Proposed Ethane Cracker Plant

The Beaver County Commissioners have approved the creation of a 325-acre tax-exempt zone aimed at enticing Shell to proceed with the construction of an ethane cracker plant in the region.  According to one commissioner, “It’s an important piece of the(…)

Pennsylvania Narrows Air Permit Exemption for Unconventional Well Sites

On August 8, 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) announced significant changes to its air permitting policy regarding unconventional gas well sites.  Pursuant to the state Air Pollution Control Act, PADEP may identify(…)

Susquehanna River Basin Commission Names Dehoff Executive Director

On August 7, 2013, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission appointed Project Review Manager Andrew D. Dehoff as executive director, effective September 19, 2013.  Mr. Dehoff will be the third executive director in the history of the SRBC and will succe(…)

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Applies To Resubmit Act 13 Case to Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) filed two applications this week with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in cases related to Act 13.  In the appeal related to the constitutionality of Act 13 the PUC filed an Application to Resubmit Case,(…)

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Releases Details on Ongoing Air Quality Study

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) recently announced that its long-term Marcellus air sampling study in southwestern Pennsylvania will continue for the remainder of the 2013 year.  PADEP also released a guidance document(…)

Range Resources to Convert Fleet to CNG

MarketWatch reports that Range Resources will convert its vehicle fleet to cleaner-burning compressed natural gas.  Range’s current fleet consists of approximately 184 CNG vehicles, about 100 of which operate in southwestern Pennsylvania.  Most of the(…)

Eighteen Democrats from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Write Letter of Disagreement to Pennsylvania Democratic Party

As we previously reported in June, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party voted to pass a resolution supporting a statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.  We recently learned that on June 15, 2013, eighteen Democrats from Pennsylvania’s House of Repr(…)

MSC, Kathryn Klaber Announce Leadership Change

In a statement issued this morning, Kathryn Klaber announced that she will step down from her position as the CEO of the Marcellus Shale Coalition.  Ms. Klaber has led the MSC since late 2009.  She will play a key role in a nationwide search to select(…)