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Lawyers: Skavdahl Got it Wrong in Fracking Ruling

by Elizabeth Alford on 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, he used an article by Florida State law professor Hannah Wiseman to support his position. Last week 35 law professors from around the country joined Wiseman to file a court brief claiming the judge was wrong in his interpretation of the article.

This came in the same week that the Obama administration also filed a brief to argue against the ruling, saying that the BLM does have the proper authority to regulate oil and gas activity on public lands.

“The agency clearly has the authority — indeed, a duty — to regulate hydraulic fracturing under several of its enabling statutes.” – Florida Law Professor, Hannah Wiseman

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued new rules in March 2015 to regulate hydraulic oil and gas fracturing on public lands after a four-year investigation that included over 1.5 million public comments. Industry groups quickly fired back and combined their challenges with state lawsuits to form a massive case that was heard in Judge Scott Skavdahl’s court in July.

Since 2007, there has been a steady increase in the use of hydraulic fracturing, but the rules to oversee the practice had not been updated in three decades. The BLM began its work to update existing rules in 2010 after growing public concern amidst the shale oil boom that expanded the use of hydraulic fracturing, the technology that extracts oil from the rock.  

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Texas Mineral Owners Sue Marathon Oil

by Elizabeth Alford on 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, they aren’t always clear and sometimes a problem may not be obvious until it is too late.

This is especially true in Texas, where if an owner waits too long, they may lose their right for compensation. Texas case law has laid a heavy burden on mineral owners to make sure energy companies pay what is owed. The Texas Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that owners are required to do their own exhaustive research to find out if payments are correct. Owners then have a four year time limit to request an audit if they suspect a problem.

The Fosters filed suit on Wednesday in order to obtain records from Marathon Oil that details the activity from their 613 acres in production. The family’s attorney said the couple is currently not seeking damages, but that a lawsuit was the only way to obtain information about how their royalty payments were calculated.

“Not all companies are willing to share information, and not all leases have an audit provision that allows royalty owners to see the books that show how their royalties were calculated.” - Attorney John McFarland

The Fosters’ land have produced nearly 600,000 barrels of oil condensate and more than 4.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas over the past five years according to records by the The Texas Railroad Commission.

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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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Colorado Activists Push Anti-Fracking Ballot Initiatives

August 8, 2016

Environmental activists in Colorado are moving forward to wreak havoc on the state’s oil and gas industry. Related: Colorado Says NO to Local Control of Oil & Gas Anti-fracking activists said today they 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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Maryland’s Dormant Mineral Law

August 3, 2016

Mineral owners in Maryland risk losing drilling opportunities due to a little known law. Connect with Mineral Owners in Maryland Low crude prices have caused producers to curtail oil and gas activity over the last 24 months. For mineral owners in Maryland, the prospect is even more grim since the state created a two year […]

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U.S. Rig Counts Slowly Rising

August 1, 2016

Oil and gas operators are slowly putting rigs back into play, just a crude falls closer to $40. Related: U.S. Active Rig Count Falls to 406 A total of 460 oil and gas rigs were running across the United States this week, the highest level since March. Baker Hughes reports there were 86 rigs targeting natural gas and 374 were targeting oil […]

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Oil and Gas Layoffs Surge

July 28, 2016

Major oil and gas operators have eliminated over 16,000 jobs between April and June. Related: Former Oilfield Workers Look to New Careers Second quarter earnings reports coming out over the past few weeks are showing massive losses for oil and gas operators across the country. For companies who haven’t resorted to bankruptcy, many must lay off workers to […]

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Oil & Gas Bankruptcies Represent Billions

July 20, 2016

Bankruptcies continue to plague the oil and gas industry as we enter year 2 of the downturn. Related: My producer filed bankruptcy…now what? Since 2015, more than three-dozen North American oilfield service companies have filed for bankruptcy involving over $5.3 billion in secured and unsecured debt, according to the Haynes and Boone law firm. The firm […]

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New Ohio Law Favors Mineral Owners

July 18, 2016

Ohio has made it easier for mineral owners to lease their land for oil and gas drilling. Related: No Pooling for One Ohio Town Last month, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 390 into law, making it easier for Ohio landowners to lease their property that borders state-owned land. The new law gives the Ohio […]

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