Methane Emissions: Arkansas and Louisiana Receive $30 Million to Plug and Reclaim Legacy Oil and Gas Wells ⚡
On May 30, 2024, the United States Department of the Interior issued a press announcing Arkansas and Louisiana would receive a combined $30.59 million to be used to plug and reclaim orphaned oil and gas wells. The funds come from the $660 set aside by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Louisiana is receiving most of the funds, $25 million, while Arkansas receives the remaining $5.59 million. With the funds, the states will measure methane emissions from orphaned oil and gas wells, search for nearby groundwater and surface water impacts, and then plug and reclaim the wells, prioritizing those near disadvantage communities. Louisiana is expected to plug or reclaim approximately 540 wells, while Arkansas is expected to plug or reclaim approximately 274 wells.

Wildlife Habitat: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Lists Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as Endangered Species
On May 20, 2024, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a final rule in the Federal Register the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (89 FR 43748). Also announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the review found that the main threats to the dunes sagebrush lizard, a rare species of spiny lizard found in the shinnery oak and sand dune ecosystems in southeastern New Mexico and western Texas, are “habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation associated with oil and natural gas production and frac sand mining.” The review also found that the species will also be affected by the increasing temperatures and extreme weather events brought about by climate change. The final rule is effective June 20, 2024.

Air Quality: Vermont Enacts Law to Collect Payment from Oil Companies for Climate Change Damage
On May 30, 2024, Vermont enacted the Climate Superfund Act, which mandates that high-emissions oil companies, defined in this instance as Exxon-Mobil, Shell, and Chevron, pay financial penalties for the climate change related damage experienced in Vermont. According to the Climate Superfund Act, companies that are globally responsible for more than one billion tons of emissions would be required to make payments based on the amount of emissions they produced from 1995 to 2024. The program will be periodically overseen by a State Auditor, who will evaluate the program every 5 years and make recommendations on how to make the program more efficient and cost-effective. The funds from the payments stated by the Act, are to be used to weather-proof buildings, improve existing infrastructure, and fund healthcare for climate-change related health issues.

Surface Owner Rights: The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Reverses Declaratory Judgment and Remands the Matter in Hansen-Gier Family Tr. Case
On May 13, 2024, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia submitted an opinion on Hansen-Gier Family Tr. v. Haywood, 2024 WL 2513418. (W. Va. May 24, 2024). In this case, upon conveying land to the Paughs, who were the predecessors of the land before the Petitioners, the Respondents reserved the use of a shale pit for themselves and their heirs on “the Culver Tract.” Once the trustees of the land, Mr. Hansen and Mrs. Gier, attempted to sell the land in 2021, the Respondent requested that he have access to the shale pit without disclosing why. Once the Respondent requested this access, the Petitioners filed a declaratory action with the circuit court to determine the limits of the Respondents’ access to the pit, to which the circuit court granted. The Supreme Court of Appeals then held that the declaratory action be reversed, and the case be remanded, finding that the circuit court erred in broadly interpreting the reservation of the shale pit because the reservation named a particular use for shale removal.




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US LNG exports rise in May as Freeport LNG returns to production (Natural Gas World)

Simson Urges EU States to Agree on Timeline for End of Russian Gas (Rigzone)

LNG Investments to Jump Over 50 Percent in 2029: Goldman Sachs (Rigzone)

BLM To Hold Wyoming’s Smallest Oil And Gas Lease Auction In 15 Years (Cowboy State Daily)

Vermont becomes first state to require oil companies to pay for climate change damage (The Hill)

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Oil & Gas Law & Policy Resources:

Chin, Oil Edges Higher After Weekly Loss as Focus Turns to Fed Rates (June 10, 2024)

Elikin, Eisenson, Developments in Opposition to Renewable Energy Facilities Through December 2023 (June 11, 2024)

Chin, Oil Holds Biggest Gain Since March Ahead of OPEC Market Report (June 11, 2024)

Bibilkos, At the Well Weekly (June 11, 2024)

Sartain, Update on Pennsylvania Subsurface Trespass (June 12, 2024)



Andersen’s Sales and Salvage in Greeley, Colorado, to pay $195,000 for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (June 11, 2024)

EPA Settles Alleged Clean Air Act Violations with EnerSys Energy Products Inc. in Missouri (June 13, 2024)

FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register June 1, 2024 – June 7, 2024)

Environmental Protection Agency

89 FR 49874 Notice: “Ambient Air Monitoring Reference and Equivalent Methods; Designation of One New Equivalent Method” (June 12, 2024)

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

89 FR 49280 Rule “Building for the Future Through Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation” (June 11, 2024)

89 FR 49170 Notice “Cheniere Corpus Christi Pipeline, LP; Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization and Establishing Intervention and Protest Deadline” (June 11. 2024)

89 FR 49873 Notice “Atlantic Trading & Marketing, Inc. v. Colonial Pipeline Company; Notice of Complaint” (June 12, 2024)

Energy Department

89 FR 49868: Notice: “Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC; Notice of Scoping Meetings and Extension of Scoping Period for the Planned Southeast Supply Enhancement Project (June 12, 2024)

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

89 FR 50045 Notice “Hazardous Materials: Information Collection Activities” (June 12, 2024)

Other Agencies

89 FR 51102 Notice “Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Furie Operating Alaska, LLC Oil and Gas Activities in Cook Inlet, Alaska” (June 14. 2024)



Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority Launches Financing Program to Help Local Governments Make Energy Efficiency Upgrades (June 11, 2024)

PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 54, No. 23 – June 8, 2024)

54 Pa.B. 3304 “Second Distributed Energy Resources Management Plan” (June 8, 2024)


Written by:
Victoria Dutterer, Research Assistant
Riley Amdor, Research Assistant
Caden Dean-Sauter, Research Assistant
Jose Rojas, Research Assistant
Jackie Schweichler, Staff Attorney