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Concerns over earthquakes might interfere with an upcoming North Texas lease sale if environmentalists have their way.

Related: Texas on Short List for Fracking-Induced Earthquakes

The Bureau of Land Management plans to hold an auction for oil and gas leases on federal land in Texas next spring. But several environmental groups have banded together to ask the agency to withdraw the proposed lease sale of 3,100 acres that are beneath dams storing water supplies for Corpus Christi and Brenham.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action and Sierra Club send a joint letter to the BLM to voice their concerns and demand action. The group cites fears that fracking might trigger earthquakes that could harm the dam infrastructure and threaten the water source for half a million Texans.

“We insist that BLM: (1) cease all new leasing of fossil fuels in the planning area, including oil and natural gas; or, at a minimum (2) withdraw the proposed April 2017 sale pending a programmatic review of all federal fossil fuel leasing which must consider a ‘no leasing’ and ‘no fracking’ plan amendments.”

The group also says that the current Environmental Assessment is “unlawfully deficient” and insist that if the BLM continues with the sale, they should:

  • 1) Initiate formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service, as required by the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”)
  • 2) Prepare a full EIS for the proposed lease sale that considers a full range of alternatives, including an alternative that bans new hydraulic fracturing and other unconventional well stimulation activities, and require strict controls on natural gas emissions and leakage

The topic of fracking and earthquakes in Texas has continued to be controversial, with interests on both sides citing scientific evidence that supports their claims.  In April, The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a forecast for 2016 that include maps identifying potential seismic events from both human-induced and natural earthquakes.

 Read more at biological diversity.com

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Beware of Mineral Royalty Scams

by Elizabeth Alford on November 21, 2016

If you are looking to invest in oil and gas leases, keep your eye out for scammers.

Related: $1.5 Million Royalty Judgment Not Enough

Wherever there is is the opportunity for money to be made, there will be crooks and the booming oil and gas sector is no different. There is indeed money to be made, but there are no sure things. Would-be oil and gas investors need to do their homework and watch out for potential scams.

Even savvy and experienced investors are prone.

In Kentucky, one conman and his team of telemarketers solicited money from investors. The group intentionally made false statements about the success of their oil production business. In February, a federal judge sentenced John G. Westine Jr. to 40 years in federal prison, for orchestrating the fraud that cost investors out of more than $3 million. Two other co-defendants we also sentenced; Henry Irving Ramer, 77 and Michael Hicks, 59.

“This is another great success story of the work being done by our Securities Division to help protect Kentucky residents and investors,” said Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Commissioner Charles Vice. “The lengthy sentences and large restitution imposed show that white collar crime is taken seriously in Kentucky.

The U.S. Postal Service has cautioned people and given some tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Do your due diligence
  • Check the company on the Internet
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any formal complaints
  • Beware of unrealistic promises like guaranteed royalties

“These guys are charming. They somehow seem to be able to befriend people, talk their way into people’s lives, they are good at getting things for nothing or for cheap,” said US Postal Inspector Roberta Bottoms.

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BLM Seeks Public Comments for Colorado Leases

November 15, 2016

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comments for 2017 oil and gas leases in Colorado. Related: BLM Now Offering Online Auctions For the next 20 days, the public is invited to send comments to the BLM as they evaluate offering about 100,000 acres of federal minerals in northwestern Colorado for oil and gas […]

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Ohio Declines to Set Rule for Post-Production Costs

November 10, 2016

Ohio’s top court declined to establish a ruling on post production costs for mineral owners. Related: Ohio Supreme Court Sides with Mineral Owners Last week, the Supreme Court of Ohio published its opinion in Lutz v. Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C., a case that has been carefully watched by industry officials and mineral rights groups alike. At issue was […]

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Tougher Standards for Drilling in National Parks

November 8, 2016

The National Park Service (NPS) has updated 37 year old standards for how oil and natural gas drilling may occur on the land it owns. Related: Fracking Fight Moves to National Parks The updated ruling, which takes affect on December 6, 2016, enacts stronger protections for private lands within the national parks. Currently there are 42 park […]

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Are Allocation Wells Veiled Pooling in Texas?

October 27, 2016

Exploration companies drilling in Texas are looking to the 2017 legislative session for clarity on their ability to continue to drill allocation wells. Related: Own minerals in Texas? Join the discussion. In Texas, an allocation well is used to refer to a horizontal well that is drilled across lease lines without pooling the tracts on […]

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BLM: New Rules Will Ensure Accurate Royalties

October 24, 2016

The Bureau of Land Management announced last week it has finalized new rules to ensure for accurate accounting for oil and gas activity on federal lands. Related: Fracking Rule for Federal Lands Ruled Unlawful The ruling updates three sections of the BLM Onshore Oil and Gas Orders and is the first comprehensive update of measurement rules in over 25 […]

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Who Owns Mineral Rights Under North Dakota Lake?

October 19, 2016

Private mineral owners in North Dakota are concerned that state official trying to claim the rights to minerals under Lake Sakakawea. Own minerals in North Dakota? Join the discussion.  Attorneys representing the state have asserted in recent court documents that the state may have a right to minerals under Lake Sakakawea since there is no distinction […]

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BLM Now Offering Online Auctions

October 17, 2016

Investors interested in garnering oil and gas leases on federal lands, now have an easier, online option. Related: Mineral Auction for Public Land Draws Protest The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is moving forward with modernizing their oil and gas program by utilizing online auctions. The decision comes after a successful 2009 test online auction in Colorado as […]

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Texas Couple Sues Talisman Energy for Unpaid Royalties

October 13, 2016

Texas couple sues Talisman Energy for unpaid royalties on their property in the Eagle Ford Shale. Related:Ohio Supreme Court Sides with Mineral Owners Eugene and Kimberly Cran, filed suit last week against Talisman Energy (Repsol). The couple claims they were underpaid for their royalties for oil wells on their land in DeWitt County. In 2013, […]

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