Western Pennsylvania Landman Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud

One of two landmen accused of defrauding property owners in Washington County, PA, has pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in federal court.

September 30, 2013


U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt in Louisiana has dismissed a charge against former BP plc executive David Rainey, who was accused of obstructing a congressional investigation concerning the Macondo well blowout in April 2010 (United States of America v. David Rainey, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, No. 12-29). The government failed to allege knowledge of a pending congressional investigation, and the law Rainey was charged under did not apply to congressional subcommittee investigations, the judge stated in a 44-page ruling. U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), whose inquiry was the basis for the obstruction charge, said he thought the ruling was incorrect. “When a judge undercuts Congress’ ability to keep companies like BP honest, he undercuts the voice of Americans everywhere,” Markey said. “This was a congressional investigation, plain and simple, and this kind of narrow and off-the-wall interpretation of how Congress investigates wrongdoing is deeply troubling.” Rainey still faces a felony charge carrying a maximum five-year sentence for making false statements to federal investigators (see NGI, Nov. 19, 2012).

May 27, 2013

Judge Dismisses Obstruction Charge Against BP Exec

A federal judge in Louisiana has dismissed a charge against a former BP plc executive accused of obstructing a congressional investigation concerning the Macondo well blowout in April 2010.

May 22, 2013

Industry Briefs

Range Resources Corp. won permission from a Texas appeals court to proceed with a defamation lawsuit seeking $3 million in damages from a man who accused the company of tainting his drinking water with drilling activities in the Barnett Shale (see Shale Daily, April 4). Two of the company’s claims against Steven Lipsky were allowed to stand by the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth. However, it ordered the trial court in Weatherford, TX, to dismiss Range’s claims against Lipsky’s wife, Shyla, and environmental consultant Alisa Rich, who was hired to assist in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs have claimed that Range tainted the Lipsky water well, but the Railroad Commission of Texas found otherwise after it investigated. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also had blamed Range for contaminating the well, the agency later backed down (see Shale Daily, Feb. 13; Feb. 21, 2012).

April 29, 2013

Industry Briefs

A lawsuit filed by Range Resources Corp. against a Texas couple that accused the company of contaminating drinking water with drilling activity should be heard in state district court in Weatherford, TX, the Texas Second District Court of Appeals in Fort Worth ruled recently. Landowners Steven and Shyla Lipsky sued Range in 2011 after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an order that said Range was responsible for the contamination. However, EPA ultimately backed down from its claim (see Shale Daily, April 2). Range counter-sued the Lipskys and environmental consultant, Alisa Rich of Wolf Eagle Environmental, claiming that they conspired to incriminate the company. The Lipsky’s lawsuit against Range was thrown out, but Range’s counter-suit was allowed to proceed (see Shale Daily, Aug. 29, 2012). The case could still be heard in appeals court but only if all parties, including the trial court judge, agree to it by April 11. Range is seeking $3 million in damages. A Range spokesman said the company was still considering the court question, but is confident that the original ruling is correct and that Range’s claims should proceed to trial.

April 4, 2013

BP: Market Manipulation Allegations ‘Without Merit’

BP plc’s former chief of natural gas liquids trading has accused the company of wrongfully firing him to manipulate the U.S. market.

February 5, 2013

Policy Analyst Assails Higher Oil, Gas Severance Taxes in Ohio

A policy analyst for a conservative think tank in Ohio blasted Gov. John Kasich’s plans to levy new severance taxes for natural gas, accused the Obama administration of waging a “war on coal” that hurts the state and urged legislators to repeal renewable energy requirements.

October 4, 2012

Range Lawsuit Against Texas Couple Proceeding

A lawsuit filed by Range Resources Corp. against a Texas couple that accused the company of contaminating its drinking water may proceed, said the Texas Second District Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, which found that the lawsuit does not run afoul of a state law against litigation intended to stifle public protest.

August 29, 2012

Texas Man Accused of Trying to Blow Up Pipeline Indicted

A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted a man accused of trying to blow up a natural gas pipeline in suburban Dallas last month.

July 13, 2012

Lawmaker: Drilling Foes Spreading Hysteria Over Act 13

Pennsylvania House Speaker Sam Smith (R-Punxsutawney) accused opponents of shale gas drilling of spreading misinformation about Act 13, calling their claims that the law’s language on chemical disclosure would prevent doctors from treating their patients “outrageous.”

April 16, 2012
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