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 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(…)

PADEP Extends Comment Period for Proposed Public Participation Policy

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced on Monday that the public comment period for proposed policy changes would be extended from July 22nd to August 27th because of a printing error in the Pennsylvania Bulletin that provid(…)

Brazilian Business Coalition Hopes to Learn from Pennsylvania’s Shale Gas Experience

The Wall Street Journal reports that a group of Brazilian business and energy industry professionals known as the Brazil Industries Coalition is visiting Pennsylvania this week in an attempt to learn from the state’s experience and to evaulate the pos(…)

Preliminary Findings of NETL’s Hydraulic Fracturing Study – No Impacts to Groundwater

The Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory released a statement at the end of last week regarding its preliminary findings in its study to monitor for impacts of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater, noting that “nothing of concer(…)

New Justice Will Not Participate In Act 13 Ruling

Newly-appointed Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Correale Stevens will not participate in ruling on the legality of Act 13 or on any other case that has gone through oral argument.  With only six justices participating in the decision, the Act 13 de(…)

Subcommittees Convened to Discuss Specific Matters Related to Draft Proposed Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Regulations

In tomorrow’s Pennsylvania Bulletin, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) will issue a notice regarding the establishment of subcommittees by the Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board (OGTAB) to discuss specific provisions at(…)

Landowners Threaten Legal Action Against Delaware River Basin Commission

The Corning Leader reports that, in response to Governor Corbett’s recent letter to the Delaware River Basin Commission, a 1,300 member landowner group has threatened to sue the DRBC.  The Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance sent a letter to the e(…)

Marcellus Shale Drilling Results in Lower Gas Bills for Pennsylvania Consumers

The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that UGI Penn Natural Gas customers continue to pay one-third less to heat their homes than they paid five years ago.  According to the Marcellus Shale Coalition, this is a nationwide trend.  The lower rates are a di(…)

Bluegrass Pipeline to Connect Utica and Marcellus Gas Fields with Gulf Coast

The Akron Beacon Journal has profiled the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline, a proposed pipeline that would deliver gas from the Utica and Marcellus gas fields to processing facilities on the gulf coast.  The pipeline would be constructed by Williams and Pi(…)

PA Legislation Would Mandate Use of Closed Systems for Non-Freshwater Fluids

A bill was recently introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that would require use of closed containment or loop systems for all non-freshwater associated with drilling and hydraulic fracturing.  Introduced by Representative Karen Boba(…)

Big Pine Gathering System Initiates Service

As indicated in a recent press release, NiSource Midstream Services has initiated service on the Big Pine Gathering System in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  The system, which spans 57 miles in total length, will transport natural gas from Marcellus Shale(…)

Constitution Pipeline Seeks FERC Approval for PA to NY Transmission Line

On June 13, 2013, Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to construct a 122-mile interstate transmission line from Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, to Schoharie County, New York.  The lin(…)

Pennsylvania PUC releases 2012 Marcellus Shale Impact Fee Allocations

Natural gas producers will pay $202.47 million in Marcellus Shale impact fees from 2012 activity, according to a June 13, 2013 Pennsylvania PUC press release.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the number is down less than 1 percent from the $2(…)

Pennsylvania's DCNR Secretary Resigns

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is reporting that Governor Tom Corbett has forced Richard J. Allan, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, to resign.  Effective immediately, Ellen Ferretti, Deputy Secretary for P(…)

Columbia Gas Files Lawsuit against State College Borough Council in Pipeline Dispute

Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania recently filed a lawsuit against the Borough of State College and Borough Manager Tom Fountaine after the borough refused to issue a right-of-way permit that would have extended a natural gas pipeline. Plans to convert Pen(…)

Pennsylvania State Rep. White Apologizes for Anonymously Attacking Shale Supporters Online

On May 29th, KDKA reported that Pennsylvania State Rep. Jesse White (D-Cecil) may have anonymously attacked local bloggers who supported the oil and gas industry.  Specifically, it alleged that Mr. White may have used various aliases to anonymously cr(…)

Pittsburgh Presbytery Ends Ban on Shale Gas Leases and Approves Pipeline Negotiations

The Pittsburgh Presbytery recently ended a yearlong moratorium on shale gas leasing and development on church property, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.  Despite the recommendation of a special Presbytery shale gas task force, which favored extend(…)

Anadarko And Southwestern Energy Negotiating With DCNR To Drill In Loyalsock State Park

NPR reports that two producers and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) are negotiating the right to access sub-surface gas deposits in the Loyalsock State Forest.  The Loyalsock State Forest consists of about 100,000 acres and(…)

Pa. House Bill Calls for Transparency of Deductions from Royalty Checks

On May 16th, Pennsylvania House Bill 1414 was referred to the Environmental Resources and Energy House Committee.  If passed into law, the bill would require Pennsylvania oil and gas operators to share certain information concerning production, wells(…)

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Proposes Changes to Lists of Wild Trout Streams and Class A Wild Trout Streams

On May 11, 2013, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) published notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin of its proposed changes to its list of Wild Trout Streams.  The proposed changes would add 47 stream sections and remove 3 stream sections(…)

Columbia Gas Seeks FERC Approval for Two Appalachian Basin Pipeline Projects

On Friday, May 10, 2013, Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (Columbia Gas) submitted applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the issuance of certificates of public convenience and necessity for a pair of natural gas pipeline pr(…)

Municipalities Fail To Disclose Act 13 Well Fees

By April 15th, local governments in Pennsylvania were required to complete paperwork related to how the shale gas well fee money was spent in 2012.  However, millions of the money distributed under Act 13 remains unaccounted for because local governme(…)

Consol Energy To Shift Focus To Natural Gas

At its annual shareholder meeting today, Consol Energy announced that it intends to pursue – and focus on – additional drilling in the Appalachian Gas Fields.  Financing for that drilling, the company indicated, may come from selling off and/or restru(…)

Proposed Panel To Review Public Health Impact From Drilling

The Republic reports that Senator Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, recently introduced Senate Bill 555.  The bill would create a health advisory panel to review public health data for areas where shale gas extraction occurs and determine the health impacts(…)

Pennsylvania DEP Concludes Gas Drilling Not to Blame for Private Water Well Contamination in Franklin Forks

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has reportedly concluded that high levels of methane found in three private water wells in Franklin Forks (Susquehanna County) are not attributable to the nearby gas drilling operations of(…)

First Quarter 2013 Shale Deals Reach $882 Million in Pennsylvania and $283 Million in Ohio

Three transactions involving Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale have reportedly totaled $882 million in the first quarter of 2013, the second-most for any formation in the country.  Ohio’s Utica Shale formation was the subject of two deals worth $283 mill(…)

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Delivers Butler v. Powers Opinion

On April 24, 2013, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued an opinion in the case of Butler v. Powers, addressing the distinction between the words “gas” and “minerals” in private conveyances of land in Pennsylvania.  The case began as a quiet title(…)

Community Rights Legislation May Be Tested in State College, Pennsylvania

A fight is brewing in State College, PA over the proposed installation of a two-mile, 12-inch natural gas distribution pipeline through the borough’s Highlands neighborhood to Penn State’s West Campus steam plant.  The proposal riled community activis(…)

PADEP Releases More Information About Radiation Study

On April 3, 2013, the PADEP issued a press release informing the public that it had released additional information and details regarding its ongoing comprehensive radiation study of oil and gas development in Pennsylvania, which was originally announ(…)

Army Corps Issues Permit for Northeast Upgrade Project

According to StateImpact and the Pike County Courier, on March 22, 2013, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit to Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGPC) for wetland, stream, and river crossings associated with its Northeast Upgrade Project. (…)

Shale Gas Roundtable Crafting Recommendations for Shale Development

The University of Pittsburgh’s Institute on Politics has reportedly assembled a group of natural gas industry representatives, public interest organizations, and regulators under the name “Shale Gas Roundtable.”  Members of the Roundtable have been qu(…)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Reports on Race to Ship NGLs to Gulf Coast

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provides coverage today on the race to ship natural gas liquids (NGLs) from Pennsylvania to the Gulf Coast.  As indicated in the story, several companies have announced plans to build or convert pipelines to transport NGLs(…)

Secretary Krancer to Resign from PADEP

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced today that Pennsylvania DEP Secretary Michael Krancer will resign from the DEP effective April 15. Mr. Krancer will return to private law practice at his former law firm, Blank Rome, LLP. No successor has be(…)

Pennsylvania Pipeline Protest Halted by Injunction

According to recent press reports, President Judge Joseph F. Kameen of the Pike County (Pennsylvania) Court of Common Pleas has granted an injunction to prevent protestors from interfering with the construction of a gas pipeline in northeastern Pennsy(…)

Marcellus Shale Now Largest Gas Play in the US, IHS Reports

The Marcellus shale play reached a production rate of more than 7 billion cubic feet per day, making it the largest gas-producing play in the United States, IHS reports. This is despite the fact that due to low natural gas prices, the number of active(…)

Pennsylvania Representative Introduces Legislation to Require Pipeline Impact Disclosure in Easements

On March 11, 2013, Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Reese introduced legislation that would require a new disclosure statement in easements for certain natural gas pipelines.  The legislation, House Bill No. 904, specifically provides that “[a]n(…)

PA Municipality Adopts Pipeline Ordinance

In what appears to be a first in Pennsylvania, on March 11, 2013, Forward Township in Allegheny County enacted an ordinance specifically targeting and extensively regulating both transmission and gathering pipelines. While the ordinance is technically(…)

Pennsylvania Representative Introduces Legislation to Ban Drilling on DCNR Lands

On March 8, 2013, Pennsylvania State Representative Greg Vitali (D-Delaware County) introduced legislation, House Bill 950, to permanently ban Marcellus Shale leasing on “lands owned and managed by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources”(…)

FERC Approves Two Dominion Pipeline Projects

On March 8, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order authorizing Dominion Transmission, Inc.’s requests to build two new pipeline projects in New York and Pennsylvania.  The two projects are the Tioga Area Expansion Projec(…)

Water Study in PA Shows Minimal Impact from Drilling Operations

A recent study by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences concluded that Pennsylvania’s waterways show little evidence of damage from chemical spills from oil and gas operations. The Associated Press reports that the study covered almost(…)

Pennsylvania PUC Provides Update on Act 127 Pipeline Operator Registration Requirements

The Secretary of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) published a letter in the March 9, 2013 issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin containing information on the annual registration requirements for pipeline operators under the Gas and Hazard(…)

Allegheny County Health Department Recommends 24-Hour Notice of Drilling

On March 6, 2013, the Allegheny County Health Department unanimously passed a recommendation that would require unconventional shale gas operators to notify the Department 24 hours prior to drilling a well, WTAE-TV reports. As previously reported, the(…)

Oil and Gas Industry Contributes to Corporate Growth in PA

Pennsylvania has been ranked third among all states for the number of new or expanded corporate facilities by Site Selection Magazine. The magazine also ranked Pittsburgh sixth among metropolitan areas with more than one million people. The Tribune-Re(…)

Construction Starts on Energy Technology Center in Pittsburgh Area

In another sign of the energy industry’s impact on the region, the Pittsburgh Technical Institute broke ground earlier this week on a $3.5 million energy technology center designed to educate individuals in the oil and gas electronics involved in extr(…)

Columbia Gas Submits Plans for $210 Million Pipeline Expansion in Eastern PA

As a result of the booming gas market in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale, Columbia Gas Transmission Group submitted plans Monday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a $210 million expansion to its Philadelphia network, the Philadel(…)

Company Continues to Move Forward with Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Project

WJAC-TV reports that Aspen Fluid Logistics plans to continue its development of a wastewater treatment pilot system in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, despite weather and permitting challenges. The pilot project, which was announced last April, will treat up(…)

PA Accepting Applications for Marcellus Legacy Fund Programs

On February 25, 2013, the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) began accepting applications for the following five programs established and supported by the Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund: 1. Abandoned Mine Drainage and Abatement and Treatment Program(…)

Pennsylvania Gas Production on the Rise

Despite a drop in the number of rigs within the Commonwealth, the Pocono Record reports that Pennsylvania gas production doubled in 2012. In 2011, there were 110 drilling rigs in Pennsylvania. That number dropped to 84 in 2012. Despite this, Pennsylva(…)

Allegheny County Council Approves Lease for Airport Properties

Allegheny County Council voted yesterday to approve a lease with CONSOL Energy Inc., permitting gas drilling at Pittsburgh International Airport, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald intends to sign the bill. CONSOL(…)

PA Senate Environmental Committee Approves Mine Water Use Bill

The Pennsylvania Senate Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy unanimously approved Senate Bill 411 on Tuesday. The Herald-Standard reports that the bill would provide liability protection from the perpetual treatment of mine water at its sou(…)

PADEP Releases 2011 Air Emissions Data

On February 12, 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released its 2011 emissions data from the unconventional drilling industry, which accounts for emissions from natural gas production and processing facilities from “57 opera(…)

Allegheny County Airport Authority Approves Lease with CNX

The Allegheny County Airport Authority has approved an oil and gas lease with CNX Gas Co. that could net the Authority as much as $500 million from an up-front payment and estimated royalties, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.  The agreement provid(…)

New Study Underway Investigating Water Usage in Marcellus Development

West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports that a new study has begun regarding the use of water in hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.  The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation is providing funding f(…)

Court Grants Preliminary Injunction to Pipeline Company, Precludes EHB Review of Permits

A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction in favor of Tennessee Gas Pipeline, LLC, precluding two environmental groups from bringing a permit challenge before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board, the Scranton Times-Tribune reports.(…)

Power Plant Fueled by Marcellus Shale Gas Approved for Lawrence County

LS Power Development LLC, a New Jersey based company, received site approval this week to build a power plant estimated to cost $750 million in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. The plant would be powered by Marcell(…)

Delaware River Basin Commission to Review Two Completed Pipeline Projects

The Delaware River Basin Commission has advised that it will conduct a review of two completed pipeline projects in Northeast Pennsylvania, a reversal of its prior position.  DRBC Executive Director Carol Collier made the decision after the Commission(…)

PADEP Publishes Final GP-5, Proposes Revisions to “Plant Approval and Operating Permit Exemptions”

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Saturday issued notices in the Pennsylvania Bulletin announcing (1) that the DEP has finalized revisions to its GP-5, a general permit that pertains to emission limits at natural gas-fired eng(…)

PA State Senator Introduces Bill That Would Add Pugh Clause to Leases

Pennsylvania state Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming County) has introduced legislation that would effectively add a Pugh clause to leases being unitized for development of shale gas.  Senate Bill 356, which was introduced by Senator Yaw and several others(…)

PA State Senator to Introduce Public Notification and Access to Information Act for Gas Pipeline Projects

As indicated in this article from January 29th, Andy Dinniman, state senator for Pennsylvania’s 19th Senatorial District, planned to introduce the Public Notification and Access to Information Act this week.  Reportedly, the Act would require the post(…)

PA Game Commission Approves Oil and Gas Leases

The Pennsylvania Game Commission board yesterday approved two leases and amended one lease which cover game lands throughout Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Pennsylvania Game Commission entered a lease with Chesapeake Appa(…)

Gov. Corbett Says Shell Not Considering Alternate Locations for Cracker

Following a speech at the Marcellus Utica Midstream Conference in Pittsburgh this morning, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said that Royal Dutch Shell’s recent decision to delay a final commitment to building an ethane cracker plant in Beaver County(…)

PADEP Withdraws General Permit Regarding Beneficial Use of Brine

On January 25, 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin acknowledging that its general permit number WMGR128 had been rescinded on January 8, 2013.  As first issued to Integrated Water(…)

PA DEP Announces Study of Naturally Occurring Radioactivity in Gas Drilling By-Products

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced yesterday that it will undertake a study concerning naturally occurring levels of radioactivity in oil and gas drilling by-products.  The study, which is expected to take 12 to 14 month(…)

Report Estimates $10 Trillion Dollars in New Economic Activity in Shale States

West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York could benefit from more than $10 trillion dollars in new economic activity as a result of the full development of the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, according to an analysis from New York-based Kroll Bo(…)

West Virginia Consumers Optimistic about Shale Gas Opportunities reports that most consumers living in West Virginia believe shale exploration will provide economic opportunity.  Of those polled, nearly a quarter already reported seeing economic impact.  The poll, conducted as Huntington Bank’s Midw(…)

PA DEP Disputes that It Undercounted Wells for Impact Fees

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer took issue with a recent claim that the state undercounted unconventional wells for impact-fee purposes in a letter to the author of the study, the Post-Gazette reports.  In(…)

Companies Exploring Horizontal Shallow Wells

Industry experts believe that horizontal drilling of shallow wells could be an opportunity for small family-owned drillers, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Shallow horizontal wells and fracking are more affordable than in the past due to improv(…)

Allegheny County Considering Proposal to Track Gas Well Air Emissions

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Allegheny County Health Department Air Quality Program subcommittee may conduct a preliminary vote today on whether to require developers to notify them at certain stages of drilling to allow the county to co(…)

FERC Denies Enviros' Request to Delay Construction of Northeast Upgrade Project

On January 11, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order denying a joint request by three environmental groups to delay the construction of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.’s (TGP) Northeast Upgrade Project in Pennsyl(…)

New PA Auditor General to Conduct Performance Audit of DEP

After taking his oath as the 51st Auditor General of Pennsylvania on January 15, 2013, Eugene DePasquale announced that one of his “first official duties as auditor general will be to initiate a performance audit of the Pennsylvania Department of Envi(…)

Allegheny County Airport Authority Could See $40 Million Bonus from Gas Lease

Last month, the Allegheny County Airport Authority accepted a bid from CNX Gas Company LLC, a subsidiary of CONSOL Energy Inc., to drill for Marcellus gas under the authority’s 9,300 available acres.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that as the pa(…)

Marcellus wastewater treatment plant slated for Potter County

The Potter Leader Enterprise reports that REVH20 LLC may soon begin construction of a shale gas wastewater treatment plant in Ulysses Township, Potter County, Pennsylvania. The company has already obtained the necessary permits from the DEP, and will(…)

UGI, Tenaska Resources Partner to Develop Marcellus Shale Acreage

UGI Corporation has announced that it has partnered with Tenaska Resources LLC, an affiliate of independent energy company Tenaska, to jointly develop in the Marcellus Shale region, as reported by the Oil & Gas Financial Journal. Starting in late(…)

PA State Senator to Propose Amendments to Act 13 Fracking Disclosure Requirements

Pennsylvania state Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery County) recently circulated a memorandum to state senators stating that he would re-introduce legislation in the 2013-2014 Regular Session to amend portions of Act 13 of 2012 that relate to disclos(…)

CONSOL Energy Announces Plans for Utica and Marcellus Drilling in 2013

CONSOL Energy Inc. announced today that it expects to invest $835 – $935 million in its gas operation in 2013.  According to a press release from CONSOL, (i) an estimated $160 million will be used to maintain production; (ii) $600 million will be used(…)

Bayer Exploring How to Use Shale Gas as a Source of Benzene

Don S. Wardius, head of Renewable and Alternative Feedstocks Development at Bayer Material Science, said Bayer wants to see a research and development consortium organized to explore turning methane, a main component in natural gas, into benzene, as r(…)

Report Contends PA Undercounted Wells in Assessing Impact Fees

A report published in Environmental Practice this month contends that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection undercounted the number of unconventional wells in the state when assessing well impact fees for 2012.  The report suggests t(…)

Pennsylvania DEP Releases Final White Paper on Use of AMD in Oil and Gas Operations

On January 9, 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released a final White Paper regarding the use of “mine-influenced water” in oil and natural gas operations.  According to the White Paper, mine-influenced water “may include(…)

Pipeline company asks court to preclude EHB from hearing environmental groups' petitions

The Scranton Times-Tribune is reporting that Houston-based Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC, has filed a federal-court complaint seeking to block attempts by two environmental groups to interfere with the operator’s Northeast Upgrade Project.  Spec(…)

PADEP Publishes Guidance on Erosion and Sediment Control, Emission and Source Reporting

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently published three important notices in the Pennsylvania Bulletin affecting the oil and gas industry.  They are: The final Erosion and Sediment Control General Permit-2 (ESCGP-2) for Earth(…)

Shell Signs Six-Month Extension to Buy Land for Cracker Plant

Royal Dutch Shell plc and Horshead Corp. agreed to a six-month extension for Shell to acquire land for a proposed cracker plant that it is considering building in Beaver County.  Shell had a December 31, 2012, deadline to buy the land in Center and Po(…)

PA House and Senate Announce New Environmental Committee Chairs

The Pennsylvania House and Senate have announced new chairs for the state House and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committees.  Rep. Ron Miller (R-York) will replace Rep. Scott Hutchinson as the majority chairman of the House Environmental(…)

PUC clarifies Act 13 implementation order regarding impact fees

At its December 20, 2012, public meeting, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) clarified sections of its implementation of Chapter 23 (“Unconventional Gas Well Fee”) of Act 13 of 2012 (Act 13) in response to a Petition for Amendment and Cl(…)

EQT to Sell Equitable Subsidiary to Peoples

EQT Corporation announced today that it will sell its distribution subsidiary Equitable Gas Company, LLC, to Peoples Natural Gas for $720 million, subject to adjustment.  EQT CEO David Porges said in a company press release that the sale will allow EQ(…)

Halcon Buys Carrizo's Utica Leases

On Monday, October 15, 2012, Carizzo Oil and Gas announced that Halcon Resources Corp. purchased a majority of their Utica Shale leases in Trumbull, Ohio, and Mercer and Crawford counties, Pennsylvania, for $43 million. An existing drilling pad and ap(…)

Marathon to Build Shale Liquids Truck-to-Barge Facility on Ohio River

Marathon Petroleum Corporation announced Tuesday, October 9, 2012, that they plan to build a truck-to-barge loading facility in Wellsville, Ohio, to expedite the taking of hydrocarbon liquids oil produced in the Utica Shale play to Catlettsburg, Kentu(…)

USGS Releases First Assessment of Utica Shale Resources

On October 4, 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey (“USGS”) released the first assessment of shale gas resources in the Utica.  The assessment covered areas in Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The estimate of undiscover(…)

Federal Court rejects PIOGA’s Contempt Motion – But Cautions Forest Service

In July 2011, PIOGA filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania seeking to hold the United States Forest Service in contempt of court for allegedly failing to adhere to the Court’s December 2009 preliminary injun(…)

Five municipalities sued the Commonwealth today seeking to halt the implementation of Act 13

Cecil Township, Robinson Township, Peters Township, and Mt. Pleasant Township, all in Washington County, and South Fayette Township, Allegheny County together filed a complaint in Commonwealth Court [add link to Complaint] arguing that Act 13 is uncon(…)

Williams Partners Announces $2.5 Billion Acquisition to Establish Major Footprint in Liquids-Rich Area of Marcellus Shale

On Tuesday March 20, Williams Partners L.P., a Williams Companies, Inc. affiliate, announced an agreement to acquire Caiman Eastern Midstream LLC, a midstream subsidiary of Caiman Energy, for $2.5 billion. Caiman Eastern’s holdings include existing ph(…)