American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2016 - 16

IndustryDigest
mandamus action in Pennsylvania
Commonwealth Court, asking it to
order DEP to either grant or deny its
permit. DEP had not yet taken final
action on PGE's permit either, he adds.
"We agree with those who say local
officials are being duped into believing
CELDF's efforts are about protecting
local communities against all sorts of
evils perpetrated by corporations,"
Moody concludes. "Officials who vote
for these misguided socialist efforts
knowing they are illegal risk criminal
prosecution under the 'official
oppression' statute in Section 5301 of
the Crimes Code." ❒

TIPRO Is Intervening
In Federal RCRA Case
AUSTIN, TX.-Attorneys
representing the Texas Independent
Producers & Royalty Owners
Association have filed a motion in
federal court seeking to intervene in a
lawsuit seeking stricter regulation of oil
and gas wastes brought by a coalition of
anti-development groups. That lawsuit,
filed May 4 in the U.S. District Court
for the District of Columbia, claims the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
has "failed to meet continuing
nondiscretionary duties under the
Resource Conservation and Recovery
Act . . . to review and revise regulations
and guidelines to keep up with this
growing source of wastes, and the
threats these wastes pose to human
health and the environment," (AOGR,
June 2016, pg. 14).
TIPRO says it has retained Haynes
and Boone LLP as counsel in the case,
adding that Dallas Partner Suzanne
Murray's motion argues that the
environmental groups are trying to
compel the EPA to exceed its authority,
even though Texas' oil and gas waste
management programs are the country's
most robust.
"The Texas program has been
approved by the EPA 17 times-an
average of once every two years,"
Murray observes. "The relief being
sought here goes beyond the authority
Congress granted EPA under Subtitle D,
so the court cannot order it to act the
way that the plaintiffs are requesting."
According to TIPRO, the coalition's
case asks the EPA to establish rules to
ban spreading of hydraulic fracturing
16 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

wastewater on roads or fields, and to
require construction standards for
disposal landfills and ponds that prevent
groundwater pollution. The groups
argue that RCRA requires EPA to
review and revise federal oil and gas
waste disposal regulations every three
years. They also call on the agency to
develop regulations for disposing of
fracturing wastewater in underground
injection wells.
TIPRO Chairman Allen Gilmer,
chief executive officer of Drillinginfo in
Austin, describes Texas' rules as more
than adequate. "The Texas Railroad
Commission and the Texas Commission
on Environmental Quality require our
industry to comply with a
comprehensive set of regulations that
contain numerous safeguards related to
managing oil and gas waste," he
observes. "This extensive regulatory
framework far exceeds the minimum
requirements mandated under the
RCRA hazardous waste program."
TIPRO President Ed Longanecker
contends the plaintiffs probably are
cooperating with the EPA against the
industry. "This lawsuit is an example of
the sue-and-settle tactics used by antioil-and-natural gas organizations in a
larger effort to slow or stop
development of hydrocarbons in our
country," he assesses. "This is yet
another attempt to compel EPA to
exceed its regulatory authority with the
ultimate goal of reaching a settlement to
fuel additional activist campaigns, all at
the expense of taxpayers." ❒

Number Of Lawsuits
Over Louisiana Coast
Expands, Contracts
BATON ROUGE, LA.-The
Louisiana Oil & Gas Association
reports two developments on the state's
legal front: one negative and one
positive.
On the downside, LOGA says, the
Vermilion Parish district attorney in late
July hired plaintiffs' law firm Broussard
& David to file suit against 45 oil and
gas companies for allegedly violating
permits associated with environmental
contamination and coastal erosion.
On the upside, the association adds,
a judge has dismissed several of the
coastal lawsuits filed by Jefferson
Parish.

In his response to the Vermilion
Parish suit, LOGA President Don
Briggs cites the industry's commitment
to the state's environment and economy,
and the industry's significant investment
in Vermilion Parish. "That is why it is
so disheartening that the district
attorney and his trial lawyer friends
have chosen to put the parish on such a
dangerous path, ignoring that this
misguided effort could have significant
economic consequences for many, many
workers across the parish who are
directly and indirectly supported by the
industry."
Briggs urges Vermilion Parish
residents to express opposition to the
litigation. He also emphasizes the
environmental standards with which
Louisiana operators must comply.
"Every oil and gas producer in
Louisiana operates under the
comprehensive regulation of the
Department of Natural Resources," he
observes. "Through the department,
there is already a rigorous
administrative process to ensure that
each and every coastal use permit is in
compliance with the Coastal Zone
Management Act. Any issues or
concerns regarding permit compliance
can be addressed through the
administrative review process without
the excessive delays and exorbitant
legal costs that come with litigation."
Meanwhile, LOGA notes, an Aug. 1
ruling by 24th Judicial District Court
Judge Stephen Enright dismissed
several lawsuits filed by trial lawyers on
behalf of Jefferson Parish against oil
and gas companies. It finds that
"existing remedies must be pursued
before a lawsuit for civil damages is
pursued. The parish and (state)
intervenors failed to pursue their
administrative remedies and failed to
show that the administrative remedy
was irreparably inadequate.
Accordingly, this lawsuit is premature
for failure to exhaust administrative
remedies and is dismissed without
judgement."
A joint statement from LOGA and
the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas
Association applauds the decision. "The
district court's ruling makes it crystal
clear that this litigation scheme is
premature and inappropriate," the
groups say, citing the state's permitting
program.
They add that the Jefferson Parish



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2016

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2016 - Cover1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2016 - Cover2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2016 - Contents
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - September 2016 - Cover3
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