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Environmental Blog

  • 14
  • October
  • 2016

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Industry Advocates Sue Over Pennsylvania’s New Hydraulic Fracturing Rules

We recently posted an update on Pennsylvania’s new hydraulic fracturing regulations, noting that the new rules would likely be subject to legal challenges from the oil and gas industry. On Thursday, October 13, a trade group representing unconventional gas producers filed suit asking a Pennsylvania court to delay implementation of the rules until the appeal is decided.

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  • 13
  • October
  • 2016

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Mississippi v. Tennessee: Are Aquifers "Interstate Waters"?

A dispute in the United States Supreme Court between Mississippi and Tennessee may have lasting effects on interstate water law. The primary issue is whether an aquifer that crosses state lines should be considered “interstate waters,” subject to the doctrine of equitable apportionment. Equitable apportionment is used by the Court to resolve interstate disputes over surface water. But, the Court has never applied this doctrine to ground water, which has traditionally been viewed as an intrastate matter.

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  • 12
  • October
  • 2016

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Pennsylvania’s New Fracking Regulations: Additional Requirements for Surface Water Protection and New Limitations on Wastewater Storage, Processing and Disposal

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.

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  • 06
  • September
  • 2016

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State Representative Seeks Attorney General Opinion on Controversial San Saba River Management Plan

In an August 26 request for a formal opinion of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, State Representative J.D. Sheffield asked the Attorney General to weigh in on the constitutionality of the proposed Upper San Saba River Management Plan (“the Plan”), which would allow a private board to oversee all diversions of water from the upper portion of the San Saba River.

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  • 22
  • July
  • 2016

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Texas/New Mexico Water Fight May Make It to the U.S. Supreme Court

The longstanding dispute between Texas and New Mexico with regard to water apportionment from the Rio Grande might make it to the Supreme Court after all. Approximately three and a half years ago, Texas filed a complaint in the U.S. Supreme Court alleging that New Mexico was taking too much water from the Rio Grande in violation of the Rio Grande Compact and the Rio Grande Project Act, which allegedly allocate the Rio Grande water among the three parties.

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