Oil and Gas Regulation: Court Upholds North Dakota Claim of Underpaid Gas Royalties
On September 1, 2022, the North Dakota Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, upheld the state of North Dakota’s claim against Newfield Exploration Company for underpaid gas royalties. Newfield Expl. Co. v. North Dakota, et al., Case No. 20220022. The ND Supreme Court held that the lower court improperly focused on the state’s inability to prove breaches of oil and gas leases, rather than focusing on the state’s damages and Newfield’s defenses. The case was remanded to state district court.
Oil and Gas Leasing: Court Upholds Wyoming Leasing Pause
On September 2, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming issued an order upholding the U.S. Department of the Interior’s “pause” on oil and gas leasing on public lands in 2021. W. Energy All., et al., v. Biden, et al., Case No. 21-CV-13-SWS. The court found that the state of Wyoming and conservation groups did not have standing to challenge the Interior Department’s order. The court also found that the leasing “pause” was not an abuse of discretion and complied with the Mineral Leasing Act, Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.
Oil and Gas Regulation: California Passes Bill Requiring New Wells Distanced from “Sensitive Receptors”
On August 31, 2022, the California Senate passed SB-1137, a bill which would require a 3,200-foot “health protection zone” between all new oil and gas wells and “sensitive receptors” in the community. “Sensitive receptors” are defined as residences, schools, health care facilities, and similar buildings. Under the bill, operators would also be responsible for developing leak detection and response plans, to be submitted to the DEP. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature.
International Development: UK Will Lift Hydraulic Fracturing Moratorium
On September 9, 2022, Prime Minister Liz Truss announced the UK would lift its moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, without specifics as to dates, during her remarks in an energy policy debate in Parliament. She also pledged to accelerate “all sources of domestic energy” and ensure the UK would be a net energy exporter by 2040.
Oil & Gas Law & Policy Resources:
Bloomberg, Europe Scrambles to Respond as Gas Surges 35%: Energy Update (September 5, 2022)
Bloomberg, US Gas Firm EQT Nears Deal to Buy Appalachia Producer, Midstream Assets (September 6, 2022)
Sartain & Walter, Suit Over a Sand Pit Spawns Citizens Participation Act Claim (September 6, 2022)
Markowitz, et al., This Week’s Climate Policy Update (September 6, 2022)
Bloomberg, All Eyes Turn to Ukraine Gas Link as Russia Squeezes Europe (September 8, 2022)
Follow us on Twitter @AgShaleLaw—Top #ShaleLaw HotLinks August 26, 2022- September 2, 2022:
California Passes Law Requiring Buffer Zones for New Oil and Gas Wells (Inside Climate News)
5th Circuit weighs Texas LNG challenge (E&E News)
Connect with us on Facebook. Every week we post the CASL Ledger detailing our publications and activities from the week.
Penn State Farmland Energy Legal Podcast: Listen to the latest episode here.
FEDERAL ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
DOE Launches New Energy Earthshot to Slash the Cost of Geothermal Power (September 8, 2022)
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register September 3 – September 9, 2022):
Environmental Protection Agency
87 FR 55331: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Close 11/8/22: “Air Plan Approval; Montana; Revisions to Regional Haze State Implementation Plan and Partial Withdrawals to Regional Haze Federal Implementation Plan” (September 9, 2022)
87 FR 54415: Proposed Rule, Comments Period Ends 11/7/22: “Designation of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS) as CERCLA Hazardous Substances” (September 6, 2022)
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
87 FR 55415: Notice: “Rio Grande LNG, LLC; Notice of Scoping Period Requesting Comments on Environmental Issues for the Proposed Carbon Capture and Sequestration System Amendment, and Notice of Public Scoping Sessions” (September 9, 2022)
87 FR 54630: Rule, Comments Periods Ends 9/21/22: “Assessment of the Continued Need for COVID-19 Emergency Declaration, Regulatory Relief for Commercial Motor Vehicle Operations” (September 7, 2022)
STATE ACTIONS—EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE
PENNSYLVANIA DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PRESS RELEASES
DEP to Host Virtual Public Hearing on Regional Pipeline Project (September 7, 2022)
PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 52, No. 37- August 27, 2022)
Ethan Durand, Research Assistant
Kendal Ashman, Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler, Staff Attorney