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Industry Advocates Sue Over Pennsylvania’s New Hydraulic Fracturing Rules 10-14-2016

On Thursday, October 13th, a trade group representing unconventional gas producers filed suit asking a Pennsylvania court to delay implementation of the rules until the appeal is decided. The challenge targets provisions in the new rules that industry representatives claim are vague, burdensome, and not authorized under Pennsylvania law, including a rule expanding operators’ responsibility to avoid and protect endangered species and rules governing site remediation, spill-reporting, and waste disposal, among others. The new rules have been in effect less than a week.

Pennsylvania’s New Fracking Regulations 10-12-2016

On October 8, 2016, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board published a comprehensive set of new rules regulating hydraulic fracturing operations in the state. Discussion of these rules began in 2011 and resulted in significant opposition--including resistance at the Pennsylvania legislature. Pennsylvania’s rules governing above-ground operations at oil and gas well sites had not been updated since 2001, prior to the expansion of hydraulic fracturing in the state. Under the regime implemented by the new rules, Pennsylvania has bifurcated its regulation of conventional and unconventional wells; the regulations governing conventional operations appear at 25 Pa. Code Chapter 78, while the regulations governing unconventional operations appear at 25 Pa. Code Chapter 78a. Many fear that the new rules will stifle energy production at a time when production has already slowed due to uncertain commodity prices, while others argue that the rules provide changes to protect both public health and the state’s natural resources. Read the full article here.

Colorado Anti-Fracking Measures Fail to Satisfy Signature Validation Requirements 08-29-2016

State officials in Colorado have indicated that supporters of two anti-fracking initiatives did not collect enough valid signatures to qualify the initiatives for the November ballot. Supporters of the initiatives initially submitted more than the required 98,492 signatures for each initiative, but fell short of meeting the required threshold after the Secretary of State’s office screened the signatures to determine their validity. The measures would have authorized local communities to limit or ban hydraulic fracturing and created a 2,500-foot setback requirement, which could have severely limited oil and gas production throughout the state. The announcement marks another high profile defeat for anti-fracking activists following the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year that municipal regulation of hydraulic fracturing is preempted by existing state law. Proponents of the initiatives have 30 days to appeal the decision to the Denver District Court.

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