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Showing 5 posts from September 2012.

On Tuesday, in Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future v. Ultra Resources, Inc.No. 4:11-CV-1360 (M.D.PA. Sept. 24, 2012) — a case watched closely by natural gas stakeholders in Pennsylvania — Judge Mariani of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania refused to dismiss a citizen suit brought by an environmental group challenging the validity of state air permits issued to the operator of a series of natural gas compressor stations, potentially opening the door for similar Federal court challenges to air permits previously issued by state regulators in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.  Approximately three years ago, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“PADEP”) issued separate authorizations for Ultra Resources, Inc. (“Ultra”) to construct seven compressor stations pursuant to a state general permit generally known as “GP-5.”  In issuing these authorizations, PADEP considered each of the compressor stations as a separate “facility.” If PADEP had considered the compressor stations to be a single “major” facility, then Ultra would have been required to obtain a more stringent non-attainment new source review (“NNSR”) permit before commencing construction. Read More »

New Jersey’s Spill Act is similar to, but older than, CERCLA and like CERCLA, many of its contours have yet to be defined.  The New Jersey Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in NJDEP v. Dimant (No. 067993 Sept. 26, 2012), attempts to rectify that in two important areas. Read More »

The Delaware River Basin Commission (“DRBC”) was created with the approval of Congress in 1961 through the Delaware River Basin Compact, an agreement between the New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the federal government for planning, conservation, utilization, development, management and control of the water resources of the Delaware River Basin (the “Basin”).  In June, 2010, the DRBC placed  a moratorium on natural gas development in the Basin, which includes areas within the Marcellus Shale formation, pending the adoption of regulations governing such development.  Draft regulations were published for comment in 2010, and revised draft regulations were published in November, 2011.  However, they have not yet been adopted by the DRBC, leaving the moratorium in place. Read More »

In April, we reported on an Arkansas Supreme Court case which held that, at least as of 1934, the term “mineral rights” included oil and gas as a matter of law.  But what about deeds of an older vintage?  Last week, the Arkansas Supreme Court, inNicholson v. Upland Industrial Development Co., 2012 Ark. 326 (Sept. 13, 2012), ruled that a 1903 deed reserving “mineral rights” included oil and gas rights because at the time of the deed and in the general region where the deed was executed, that was the common understanding.  In other words, the per se rule announced in Staggs v, Union Pacific RR Co.* did not apply. Read More »

One of the very first things I was told by the senior partner when I started practicing law was that there isn’t an honest mistake that can’t be fixed, except blowing the statute of limitations. As a result, my calendar has limitations periods blocked out weeks, months and in some cases years in advance, and if there’s ever a question of when it runs, I use the earliest date. The Tenth Circuit’s decision in Impact Energy Resources, LLC v. Salazar, Nos. 11-4043 & 11-4057 (Sept. 5, 2012 10th Cir.), is a cautionary tale to those who may not be as conservative. Read More »