When the Pennsylvania Superior Court issued its opinion in Butler v. Charles Powers Estate in 2011, it seemed to cast doubt on the ongoing applicability of either the longstanding Dunham Rule or the rule announced in United States Steel Corporation v. Hoge. On April 24, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a decision in Butler v. Charles Powers Estate, No. 27 MAP 2012, 2013 Pa. LEXIS 789 (Pa. April 24, 2013), walking a narrow path to reaffirm the viability of these seminal cases regarding the ownership of natural gas and coalbed methane gas in Pennsylvania. (more…)
Filed under: Marcellus Shale | Tags: Marcellus Shale, S.B. 258, Senate Bill 258, subsurface rights
Pennsylvania is considering a bill, Senate Bill 258, that would create a presumption of abandonment for certain subsurface rights if those rights are not exercised for 50 years. S.B. 258 provides that the failure of a person claiming to hold the subsurface rights, other than the surface owner of the real property, to exercise the subsurface rights for a period in excess of 50 years creates a rebuttable presumption that the subsurface rights have been abandoned in favor of the surface owner. (more…)
Filed under: Marcellus Shale | Tags: Fracking, Marcellus Shale, Pennsylvania
On August 28, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) published a set of recommended practices for sampling groundwater before commencement of hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – operations. Implementing the practices will establish a pre-drilling baseline and will be helpful in determining whether fracking caused groundwater contamination. In the face of increasing litigation against fracking operations for groundwater degradation, the new practice could protect drillers from a presumption of liability. The guidance can be found at http://marcelluscoalition.org/2012/08/msc-releases-recommended-practice-for-pre-drill-water-sampling/. Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has announced its support for the new recommended practices.
The sampling guide is the third in a series of recommended practice documents issued by the MSC. The first focused on site planning, development, and restoration (http://marcelluscoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Site_Planning_RP_Overview.pdf). The second focused on supply chain practices (http://marcelluscoalition.org/2012/07/msc-reinforces-local-hiring-with-supply-chain-recommended-practice/).
Filed under: Marcellus Shale | Tags: Caselaw, Marcellus Shale, Oil, Pennsylvania
Earlier this year, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law Act 13, which repealed Pennsylvania’s existing Oil and Gas Act and replaced it with a codified statutory framework regulating oil and gas operations in the Commonwealth. Soon after Act 13’s enactment, a collection of municipalities, environmental groups and others filed constitutional challenges to certain provisions of Act 13, and the case proceeded before the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.
On July 26, 2012, in Robinson Twp,. et al. v. Commonwealth, No. 284 M.D. 2012 (Pa. Commw. Ct. June 26 2012), the Commonwealth Court issued an opinion on those challenges. (more…)
On July 25, 2012, in EXCO Resources (PA), LLC v. New Forestry, LLC, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania held that an oil and gas lessee did not have an implied right to use the leasehold property for activities related to the injection of waste water from its regional drilling operations. (more…)