Pennsylvania Attorney General (AG) Josh Shapiro’s office is said to be conducting an investigation of the environmental impacts caused by unconventional natural gas drilling operations in the southwestern part of the state.
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Law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has opened a Houston office with a team of lawyers with energy transactional experience, including public and private mergers and acquisitions, asset acquisitions and divestitures, and joint ventures; debt and equity capital markets; finance and restructuring; tax (focused on master limited partnerships); and regulatory matters, the firm said. The team will initially consist of eight partners, who are to be announced in the coming weeks. “Our new Houston office will be initially focused on energy transactions, but we expect the office to work closely with the Dallas office and other lawyers throughout our firm to attract restructuring, litigation, appellate and regulatory opportunities,” said Rob Walters, partner in charge of the firm’s Dallas office.
An EQT Corp. subcontractor accidentally drilled into an abandoned coal mine in Southwest Pennsylvania, causing mine wastewater to empty into the Monongahela River. Keystone Clearwater Solutions LLC was drilling for a pipeline on January 28 to carry river water to EQT’s drilling site in Forward Township, about 20 miles south of Pittsburgh, when it breached the mine causing the wastewater to leak into a tributary. While the incident was isolated, the Monongahela is one of three major rivers that run through the city. EQT hired another contractor to cleanup and the spill has mostly been contained. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said the incident was not expected to cause problems for public drinking water supplies. Gas extraction has increasingly intersected with abandoned and operational mines in the state.
Federal Energy Regulatory CommissionChairman Norman Bay announced the appointment Tuesday of Jennifer M. Long as a FERC administrative law judge (ALJ). Long has served as an ALJ in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review at the Social Security Administration since 2012. Prior to that, she was a principal ALJ in the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings, served as a commissioner on the District of Columbia Rental Housing Commission, and was an arbitrator at the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas. Long is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, earned a certificate of Judicial Development in Administrative Law Adjudication Skills from the National Judicial College and a bachelor’s degree from Howard University. She is a member of the Bars of the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is taking comments through Monday (April 4) on a proposal that would revise the annual surveys filed by producers of their domestic oil and natural gas reserves. The proposal would require county-level information on wells versus using field-level data. Regulators proposed thechanges to Form EIA-23L in March, and if approved, the updated information would be required beginning in 2017. Comments may be sent to Chad S. Whiteman, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Department of Energy Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Room 10102, 735 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20503; or to Steven G. Grape, email@example.com, EIA, Mail Stop EI–24, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20585.
A coalition of consumer and environmental advocacy groups filed a petition Monday calling on FERC to establish an office of public participation, arguing that the public’s interests are currently underrepresented in the Commission’s regulatory process.
The national campaign to end oil/natural gas lease sales on federally managed public lands focused on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office in Lakewood, CO, on Thursday. Demonstrators were stationed outside the office for part of the morning in spring-like weather.
Royal Dutch Shell plc confirmed Wednesday that it plans to close its Appalachian headquarters in Western Pennsylvania next summer, citing an “ongoing drive to enhance competitiveness” during the commodities downturn.
A proposal that could allow more natural gas and oil development across 1.7 million acres of Colorado’s Piceance Basin for the next 20 years was unveiled Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The agency said the proposal could yield more than 7.5 Tcf of natural gas over the period.
A top Republican state senator confirmed Thursday that the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office is reviewing landowner complaints about unfair post-production costs that Chesapeake Energy Corp. has allegedly been deducting from royalty checks.