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Are Dakota Pipeline Protestors Twisting the Facts?

by Elizabeth Alford on September 19, 2016

Conflict surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline has escalated over the last few weeks as protests have become more aggressive and even violent, causing the federal government to step in.

Related: Dalrymple at Odds with Sioux Tribe Over Pipeline

The debate over the 1,172-mile pipeline has pitted oil and gas with local concerns about the environmental impact of the pipeline, including contamination of the Missouri River, the primary water source for the Standing Rock Sioux. Tribal leaders are also upset that the pipeline will disturb sacred burial grounds. But at least one expert says that the facts are being blurred.

“The protests might also give the false impression that Native American tribes had no input to the project. The public record shows that they did. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held 389 meetings with 55 tribes to discuss the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe met with the corps nearly a dozen times to discuss archaeological issues and to help finalize the pipeline’s route.” –

The article goes on to say that the pipeline route does not enter the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation. The route was approved by the state Historic Preservation Office, which issued a “no significant sites affected” determination in February. In fact, the author says it is impossible for an ancient burial to even exist in the fill that covers transmission and oil lines.

In July, Dalrymple characterized the protests as ‘significant public safety concerns’ when up to 1500 people  gathered where the pipeline is scheduled to cross the Missouri River, near Cannonball and hundreds more marched on the state capital. At least 29 arrested during recent demonstrations. Currently things are at a stand still after the U.S. Justice Department and other federal agencies intervened to delay construction.

Construction on the 1,172-mile pipeline project came to a halt over the Labor Day weekend when demonstrations turn violent. What had been peaceful gatherings turned ugly after Energy Transfer Partners allegedly used bulldozers to destroy sacred tribal sites.

Even amidst the controversy, Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the project, has publicly stated they are still committed to completing the pipeline.

“This case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects,” the U.S. Departments of Justice, Army and Interior said in a joint statement.”

The pipeline project is designed to transporting more than 470,000 barrels per day of crude oil through four states into Illinois before it hooks up to another pipeline down to Texas.

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Ohio Supreme Court Sides with Mineral Owners

by Elizabeth Alford on September 19, 2016

Ohio mineral owners don’t automatically lose their rights during times of inactivity, according to the state’s high court.

Related: New Ohio Law Favors Mineral Owners

The Ohio Supreme Court announced last week that they are siding with mineral rights holders in more than a dozen appeals dealing with the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA).  The ruling means that owners of mineral rights don’t automatically abandon their rights without surface owners following specific legal procedures.

In the lead case of Corban v. Chesapeake Exploration LLC, justices ruled that the current surface owner of about 165 acres was not entitled to compensation for minerals extracted by a company despite decades of inactivity at the site. The surface owner argued that the severed mineral interest automatically vested in him under the 1989 ODMA before the 2006 amendments, and therefore the notice requirements do not apply to his claim.  The company countered that the 2006 amendments to the ODMA should apply because they were in effect at the time the surface owner brought suit in 2013.

Details of the ruling include:

  1. The 1989 version of the DMA is not self-executing, and, therefore, did not cause ownership of mineral rights to automatically transfer to the owner of the surface rights;
  2. Because the 1989 DMA is not self-executing, a surface owner must bring a quiet title action to obtain a judicial decree that a mineral interest has been abandoned and is merged with the surface estate pursuant to the 1989 DMA; and
  3. The 2006 DMA, and not the 1989 DMA, applies to all claims asserted after June 30, 2006, the effective date of the 2006 amendments to the statute.


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Fracking & Air Contamination: New Evidence Points to Inefficiencies

September 8, 2016

A new study released by the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) suggests that air contamination around fracking sites is more likely due to mechanical inefficiencies than the oil and gas extraction process itself. Related: State Regulators Join Forces to Oppose Clean Air Act UTA chemists gathered samples removed from fracking sites in the Eagle Ford during June and November […]

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EPA: New Competition to Increase Air Quality

September 7, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a competition designed to encourage greater air quality control. Related: EPA Approves Tougher Methane Emissions Regulations Ann Dunkin, Chief Information Officer of the EPA, sent out a memo last week announcing the agency will offer up to two communities $40,000 each to implement a plan to deploy hundreds of air sensors […]

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Anti-Fracking Measures Fall Short in Colorado

August 29, 2016

Anti-fracking forces in Colorado were dealt a severe blow this morning, when two initiatives couldn’t make the cut for the November ballot. Related: Activists Push for Ballot Initiatives Anti-fracking activists had submitted 100,000 signatures to state officials in an attempt to get two initiatives on the November ballot that would limit fracking across the state. […]

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Dalrymple at Odds with Sioux Tribe Over Pipeline

August 24, 2016

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple took action last week against the mounting protests in his state over the Dakota Access Pipeline by issuing an emergency declaration for southwest and south central North Dakota. Related: Dakota Access Pipeline Concerns  Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault II came out in opposition of the governors actions, saying is will hurt the […]

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Lawyers: Skavdahl Got it Wrong in Fracking Ruling

August 22, 2016

Law professors from around the country claim the courts have it all wrong and push to overturn the recent ban on fracking rules for public lands. Related: Fracking Rule for Federal Lands Ruled Unlawful When Judge Scott Skavdahl blocked the federal fracking rules put into place by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) last year, […]

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Texas Mineral Owners Sue Marathon Oil

August 19, 2016

One Texas couple is having to sue Marathon Oil to obtain information about drilling activity on their property. Related: Mineral Owners Race the Clock in Texas John and Kelly Foster from Karnes County, exemplify how hard mineral owners sometimes have to fight to make sure their royalty payments are correct. Though mineral owners receive monthly statements from their operators, […]

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Colorado’s Setback Rule is a Game Changer

August 15, 2016

Newly appointed members to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) are coming in just as the state faces its biggest battle yet to maintain control over oil and gas activity. Related: Colorado Activists Push Anti-Fracking Ballot Initiatives Last week, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper appointed three new members to the COGCC; Ashley Lowe of Durango, Colorado, Kent […]

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Kansas Restricts Waste Disposal to Reduce Earthquakes

August 11, 2016

Kansas has tightened restrictions for fracking waste in order to reduce earthquakes. Related: Texas Earthquakes- The Verdict is Still Out Yesterday, the Kansas Corporation Commission approved an order putting more limits on the amount of saltwater that oil and gas producers may inject into wells in Harper, Sumner, Kingman, Sedgwick and Barber counties. The change comes on the heels of previous restriction, […]

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