Environmental Alert: Fourth Circuit’s “Conduit Theory” Decision Extends CWA Liability for Migrating Groundwater

On April 12, 2018, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals became the second federal appellate court to recognize the so-called groundwater “conduit theory” of liability under the Clean Water Act. The decision in Upstate Forever v. Kinder Morgan Energy Pa(…)

Pennsylvania Superior Court Upholds “Title Washing”

In Woodhouse Hunting Club, Inc. v. Hoyt, an unpublished opinion filed February 2, 2018, the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the practice of “title washing” of unseated land in Pennsylvania. Prior to January 1, 1948, title washing occurred through a(…)

Environmental Legal Perspective: The Underground Reach of the Clean Water Act: It’s Not Just for Surface Water

Since its enactment in 1972, the federal agencies who administer the Clean Water Act (the Act), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps), have taken the position that the definition of “waters(…)

Environmental Alert: U.S. Supreme Court Decision Revives Multiple Federal District Court Lawsuits Challenging the Clean Water Rule

On January 22, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that lawsuits challenging the Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Water Rule (Rule) – a landmark revision to the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) that arguably expanded the(…)

Environmental Alert: The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board’s Second Analysis of the Environmental Rights Amendment

On November 13, 2017, the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board issued its second opinion analyzing Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, commonly known as the Environmental Rights Amendment, in light of the Pennsylvania Supreme C(…)

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(…)

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(…)

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(…)

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(…)

The Ohio Oil And Gas Commission Affirms Orders Suspending Operation Of An Injection Well Due To Low-Level Seismic Events

The Ohio Oil and Gas Commission rendered a decision on August 12, 2015, affirming two orders of the Chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management that suspended operation of an injection well operated by American Water Management Services(…)

Ohio EPA, Ohio Division Of Oil And Gas Resources Management, And Ohio Department Of Health Issue A Joint Guidance Letter On Landfill Disposal Of Oil And Gas Production Waste

Ohio EPA, the Ohio Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management, and the Ohio Department of Health, on November 17, 2014, jointly issued a four-page guidance letter on how Ohio regulates the landfill disposal of oil and gas production waste.  The lett(…)

Four Veteran West Virginia Attorneys Join Babst Calland's Charleston Office as Shareholders

Veteran attorneys Timothy Miller from Robinson & McElwee, and Christopher ‘Kip” Power, Mychal Schulz and Robert Stonestreet from the Charleston office of Dinsmore & Shohl have joined forces with Babst Calland in providing senior-level legal co(…)

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(…)

Ohio Department of Health Issues Guidelines for Drilling Waste

The Ohio Department of Health has issued guidelines for sampling and analysis of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM) commonly found in drilling wastes. The guidelines were issued in conjunction with Ohio House Bi(…)

Proposed Bill to Allow Unlimited Drilling Waste in West Virginia Landfills

As reported in the Spirit of Jefferson newspaper, Senate Bill 474, introduced in the West Virginia Senate on Monday, February 3, would amend W. Va. Code § 22-15-8 to allow commercial waste facilities to accept drill cuttings and associated hydraulic f(…)

Fourth Circuit Upholds Chesapeake Ruling Regarding Waste Pits

On September 4, 2013, in the case of Whiteman v. Chesapeake Appalachia, L. L. C. (2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 18359 (4th Cir. W. va. 2013)), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a District Court ruling from the Northern District o(…)

West Virginia Air Quality not Endangered by Fracking

A report created by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas, which was anticipated pursuant to previous studies conducted by the DEP, indicates that no new rules are necessary to protect West Virginia’s air qua(…)

Ohio Appeals Court Enforces Lease Provision Disclaiming Implied Covenants

The Fifth District Court of Appeals held in a recent decision that a general disclaimer of implied covenants in a lease effectively disclaims any implied covenants to reasonably develop the leased property. In Bilbaran Farm, Inc. v. Bakerwell, Inc., t(…)

Appeals Court Clarifies Definition Of "Adjacent" Under The Federal Clean Air Act

In Summit Petroleum Corp. v. US EPA, 690 F.3d 733 (6th Cir. 2012), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit overturned the US EPA’s finding that a natural gas sweetening plant and approximately 100 gas wells scattered across a 43-square-mile ar(…)

West Virginia Oil and Gas Environmental Certifications Can Benefit Landowners

Journalist Pam Kasey suggested, in a print article in the West Virginia State Journal dated May 2, 2013, that while it is possible for a surface owner to attempt to insist that a driller become certified under new certification standards set by the Ce(…)

WV Producer’s Operations Achieve ISO 14001 Certification

As profiled in an article by Pam Kasey in the West Virginia State Journal, Charleston-based Appalachian Basin natural gas operator Triana Energy, LLC has meet the stringent environmental standards required to achieve ISO 14001 certification.  To achie(…)

United States EPA Approves Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's 2012 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring And Assessment Report

On May 9, 2013, the U.S. EPA approved the PADEP’s 2012 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report, a biennial “monitoring and assessment report characterizing the condition of Pennsylvania’s surface waters.”  Included in this report is(…)

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(…)

WV DEP Issues Draft Permit for Natural Gas Well Sites

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Division of Air Quality recently issued the draft Class II General Permit G70-A for the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution in regard to the Construction, Modification, Relocation, Administr(…)

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(…)

West Virginia University College of Law Students Enter the Marcellus Shale Play With National Moot Court Competition

The WVU College of Law will tackle hydraulic fracturing issues in the upcoming National Energy & Sustainability Moot Court Competition.  On March 14-16, 2013, moot court teams will gather in Morgantown to address issues involving alleged violation(…)

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(…)

Drilling Companies, Environmental Groups Form Institute Focusing on Best Practices

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that certain environmental groups and drilling companies will soon collaborate to establish the Institute of Gas Drilling Excellence, an organization that will measure drilling companies’ performances against the(…)

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(…)

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(…)

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(…)

U.S. EPA Finalizes Revised Emissions Standards for Internal Combustion Engines

On January 14, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized amendments to the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE).  In addition 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(…)

Producers Seek OK to Transport "Frack Water" by Barge

An anticipated decision by the U.S. Coast Guard will determine when oil and gas producers can start transporting “frack water” by barge through West Virginia for treatment. “Frack water” is water containing chemicals used by oil and gas production com(…)

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(…)

API Seeks Supreme Court Review of U.S. EPA's Revised NO2 Standard

The American Petroleum Institute (API) filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) 2010 revised standard for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions.   T(…)

States Intend to Sue for Additional Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On December 11, 2012, seven states sent the United States Environmental Protection Agency a Notice of Intent to Sue the agency for failing to address methane, a greenhiouse gas (GHG), emissions from the natural gas industry.  The states assert that, a(…)

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(…)

Ohio EPA Data Show Clean Air Near Drill Sites

On November 2, 2012, Ohio EPA reported that the air quality near a drilling site in Muskingum County, Ohio is within federal standards.  Ohio EPA collected four months of data from a monitor that measured concentrations of particulate matter, various(…)

EPA Looks to FIFRA for Authority to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing

Acknowledging the agency’s limited authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing under the principal environmental statutes such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act, the United States Environmental Protection A(…)

Indigenous Mineral Resources Incentive Development Act signed into law

The Indigenous Mineral Resources Incentives Development Act was signed into law by Pennsylvania Govenor Tom Corbett on October 9, 2012.  The law allows the Pennsylvania Department of General Services to execute leases for the mining and removal of coa(…)

PA DEP provides guidance on Act 13 spill containment plan requirements

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has provided E&P companies with information regarding a new requirement in Act 13 that unconventional well permit applicants submit a spill containment plan.  According to the information fro(…)

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(…)

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(…)