Appeals

New York Landowners Start Legal Fund to Target Frack Bans

A landowners group in central New York that supports natural gas development has established a legal fund to fight local bans and moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

December 13, 2012

Lenape Sues New York Town and DEC Over Drilling Ban

Lenape Resources Inc., an oil and natural gas producer based in New York, has filed a lawsuit against a town in Livingston County for enacting a local drilling ban, and against the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for failing to rein in the town over the ban.

December 3, 2012

Upstate New York Officials Ask to Weigh in on Drilling Ban Challenges

More than 50 municipalities across upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region that touch the Marcellus Shale are asking a state appeals court for permission to weigh in on whether they may ban oil and natural gas drilling within their jurisdictions.

November 1, 2012

New York GOP Wants Fracking to Advance; York Rejects Moratorium

Two Republican state senators, key supporters of Marcellus and Utica shale gas drilling in New York, are anxious to see Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration move forward with the process to establish rules for drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF).

October 10, 2012

Appeals Court Overturns EPA Disapproval of Texas Air Permitting

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit voted 2-1 on Monday to vacate the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) disapproval of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) Flexible Permits Program.

August 14, 2012

EPA Appeals Board Remands Permits for Two Wastewater Wells

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) has remanded permit applications for two wastewater disposal wells in Pennsylvania back to the agency’s Region 3 office in Philadelphia, on suspicion that inadequate testing of nearby drinking water wells was performed.

July 10, 2012

Ohio EPA Overstepped Authority in Wastewater Case, Says Commission

Patriot Water Treatment LLC of Warren, OH, is back in business after the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC) on Tuesday ruled that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) had overstepped its regulatory authority when it pulled the private operator’s permit to deliver natural gas drilling wastewater to the City of Warren for treatment.

July 6, 2012

Texas Supreme Court Remands Eminent Domain Case

The Texas Supreme Court has for a second time reversed a court of appeals judgement in a case involving a pipeline company’s use of eminent domain for a public use project and has remanded the case to a district court “for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

March 5, 2012

D.C. Appeals Court to Hear Former Amaranth Trader’s Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will review former Amaranth natural gas trader Brian Hunter’s appeal of FERC’s order denying rehearing of claims that he manipulated the natural gas market.

December 16, 2011

People

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has denied former Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling’s appeal of his May 2006 convictions. Skilling in 2006 was sentenced in Houston by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to 24 years in federal prison following his convictions on 19 criminal charges related to Enron’s bankruptcy in 2001: one count of conspiracy, 12 counts of securities fraud, five counts of making false representations to auditors and one count of insider trading (United States v. Jeffrey K. Skilling, No. 06-20885).The defense appealed, arguing, among other things, that the 19 counts were tainted by the use of the “honest services” fraud theory, which was one of the objects of the conspiracy charge. The Fifth Circuit denied a defense motion to overturn the convictions, but it said Skilling’s sentence needed to be recalculated and ordered he be resentenced. On appeal the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed Skilling’s conviction for honest services fraud (see NGI, June 28, 2010). The justices, however, did not reverse any of Skilling’s convictions, but they remanded the case back to the Fifth Circuit to determine whether the honest services instruction to the district court jury amounted to “harmless error.” The district court’s instruction to the Houston jury was indeed a harmless error, the Fifth Circuit judges said in their ruling. As it had ruled in 2009, the Fifth Circuit also stated that Skilling’s sentence had been miscalculated. According to the opinion, the circuit court now will take up resentencing.

April 11, 2011