Litigation and the Marcellus Shale

The Legal Intelligencer
In this video, reporter Zack Needles examines the potential for litigation and the players involved as the Marcellus Shale becomes a dominant part of the  Pennsylvania legal landscape.
 
And be sure to check out our complete collection of articles covering  the Marceullus Shale and the law.

Horizontal Drilling Presents Unique Leasing Issues
The Legal Inelligencer
June 18, 2013

The modern oil and gas lease is a sophisticated and complex legal instrument that has evolved over the last several decades. This evolution, however, has generally occurred within the "vertical well" context. Recent technological advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have resulted in unprecedented leasing activity throughout Pennsylvania. Full Text


Is the Natural Gas Industry in Pa. Creating More Legal Work?
The Legal Intelligencer
May 14, 2013

While there is currently debate over whether the rise of the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania has created as many jobs as some had originally projected, there is little disagreement among attorneys and legal recruiters that there is, at the moment, plenty of legal work flowing from the drilling industry and, as a consequence, steady demand for oil and gas lawyers. Full Text


Two Recent Suits Display Scope of Gas Lease Litigation
The Legal Intelligencer
April 30, 2013

Two complaints recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania serve as examples of the wide scope of gas lease-related litigation coming out of the state's natural gas plays. Full Text


Pa. Justices Rule Shale, Natural Gas Are Not Minerals
The Legal Intelligencer
April 26, 2013

The state Supreme Court has decided there is no need for a scientific debate over whether shale and the natural gas contained within it fall under the definition of "minerals" for the purposes of deed reservations. Full Text


Marcellus Shale, Revenue Hunt Spur Pa. Firm Mergers
The Legal Intelligencer
April 8, 2013

Pennsylvania firms have frequently been the subjects of law firm mergers in one of the most active quarters for merger activity the industry has seen since the beginning of 2009, according to a report by legal consultancy Altman Weil. Full Text


Shale Drilling Impact Fees Tapped to Fund Conservation Projects
The Legal Intelligencer
March 5, 2013

Five new conservation programs will be the beneficiary of $14 million in new funding from impact fees paid by companies drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, the Corbett administration has announced. Full Text


Factoring Shale Royalties Into Estate Planning
The Legal Intelligencer
February 5, 2013

While the Marcellus and Utica shales present a boon to the Pennsylvania economy, the negotiation of a lease should not be the only legal consideration for a landowner. There are a multitude of estate and income-tax issues to consider both before and after signing a lease and before drilling commences. Full Text


Gas Lawyers Say Price Will Dictate the Practice in 2013
The Legal Intelligencer
February 5, 2013

Energy lawyers in Pennsylvania said the price of natural gas will be one of the main drivers determining which areas of oil and gas law are busy in 2013. Full Text


Spector Gadon Starts Energy and Environmental Practice
The Legal Intelligencer
November 28, 2012

Philadelphia-based Spector Gadon & Rosen has started an energy and environmental practice group with the addition of environmental lawyer Kermit L. Rader, who will chair the group. Full Text


Litigation Over Groundwater Impacts of Natural Gas Wells
The Legal Intelligencer
November 20, 2012

Last month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson in Harrisburg denied a request for a Lone Pine order in a natural gas migration case, Roth v. Cabot Oil & Gas, Civil Action No. 3:12-cv-898 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 15, 2012). That decision offers an opportunity to consider some issues arising from claims that shale gas development (fracking) in Pennsylvania has caused personal injury or property damage as the result of contamination of neighbors' water wells or other migration of natural gas to neighbors' property. Full Text


Wins and Losses for Gas Company in Marcellus Shale
The Legal Intelligencer
October 22, 2012


In the natural-gas fields of Pennsylvania, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. has had a split week in federal court — winning its motion to dismiss an amended complaint from a drilling company with which it had a contract and losing its argument that plaintiffs should show a heavy burden of proof before starting discovery in a separate case. Full Text


Pa. Justices Hear Arguments Over Shale Drilling Law
The Legal Intelligencer
October 18, 2012


Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices listened to nearly two hours of arguments Wednesday morning in Pittsburgh over whether aspects of the state's new Marcellus Shale drilling law take too much power away from local governments. Full Text


Caldwell v. Kriebel Resources Co., LLC
The Legal Intelligencer Case Digest
October 9, 2012


The transference of "all" gas rights included both Marcullus Shale gas and gas in shallower formations and plainiffs could not show that defendants breached the lease agreement. Defendants preliminary objections were granted and the complaint was dismissed. Full Text


PUC Says Pittsburgh Drilling Ban Violates State Law
The Legal Intelligencer
September 18, 2012


Pittsburgh's ban on oil and natural gas drilling is in direct conflict with the state's authority to establish environmental standards, according to a recent opinion from the Public Utility Commission. Full Text


Corbett Administration Challenges Court Decision to Set Aside Part of Act 13
The Legal Intelligencer
September 11, 2012


A Commonwealth Court panel wrongly struck down zoning provisions in the Act 13 amendments to the state's Oil and Gas Act, according to briefs filed on September 4 by attorneys representing the state government, the Corbett administration and the Public Utility Commission. Full Text


Driller Accused of Overbilling Joint Marcellus Shale Accounts
The Legal Intelligencer
August 30, 2012


Two oil and gas drillers, along with an oil and gas investor, have sued a third driller with which they had partnered for natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale, alleging the company overbilled two joint accounts, one by more than $2 million and the other by more than $630,000, and then failed to fully reimburse the money. Full Text


Natural Gas and Zoning: The Commonwealth Court's Act 13 Decision
The Legal Intelligencer
August 28, 2012


On July 26, the Commonwealth Court decided Robinson Township v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Comm'n, No. 284 M.D. 2012, invalidating portions of the Oil and Gas Act amendments of 2012 (known as Act 13). Specifically, Robinson Township struck down the provisions of Act 13 constraining the application of local land use controls to oil and gas facilities and sustained others. Full Text


Taking a Closer Look at the Politics Surrounding the Marcellus Shale
The Legal Intelligencer
August 21, 2012


The Marcellus Shale is, to many in north central Pennsylvania, the most beautiful sound they ever heard in two words. That sound is frequently the jingling of cash in the register, although it is most likely that they are seeing big bills that don't jingle but do change lives. Full Text


Lawyers Say Report Affirms Their Investments in Marcellus Shale Play
The Legal Intelligencer
August 14, 2012


Oil and gas lawyers said a recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing the Marcellus Shale play to be the fastest-growing natural gas play in the United States serves as an affirmation for attorneys and law firms that have built their practices around the oil and gas industry in the Appalachian Basin. Full Text


Zoning, Pre-emption and the Constitution
The Legal Intelligencer
August 14, 2012


"The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people." Full Text


Gas Lease Precedent in Doubt, Federal Judge Says
The Legal Intelligencer
August 7, 2012


A U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania judge has declined to take up a contract dispute between two Greene County, Pa., landowners and two gas companies, saying despite evolving Pennsylvania oil and gas law he could not confidently predict that the state Supreme Court would overturn a precedent first established more than a century ago governing the contractual liability of drillers who assign their leases to other drillers. Full Text


Court Says DEP May Not Deny Records Requests as Burdensome
The Legal Intelligencer
August 7, 2012


In a decision lawyers said has broad applicability for Pennsylvania open records law, the Commonwealth Court has ruled that the state Department of Environmental Protection may not deny requests for records related to water supply contamination from oil and gas drilling operations simply on the basis that it would be burdensome to search for them. Full Text


Marcellus Drillers Hope for Swift Action on Act 13 Appeal
The Legal Intelligencer
August 7, 2012


An attorney within the natural gas drilling industry said he hopes for quick action on an appeal of a Commonwealth Court ruling that overturned a local zoning provision in Act 13, the recently approved Marcellus Shale drilling law. The ruling stripped the law of a provision that would prevent local governments from enacting changes in their zoning ordinances merely to block drilling. The Corbett administration has appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court. Full Text


Interpreting Oil and Gas Leases in Pa.'s Shale Gas Era
The Legal Intelligencer
July 31, 2012


An oil and gas lease is the fundamental document through which a producer obtains rights to explore for and develop oil, natural gas and other hydrocarbons. When landowners and production companies enter into oil and gas leases, they do so with business purposes in mind in the context of a unique industry. Full Text


Comm. Court Deals Gas Industry A Loss, Strikes Act 13 Provisions
The Legal Intelligencer
July 24, 2012


A deeply split en banc Commonwealth Court panel has invalidated as unconstitutional amendments to the state's Oil and Gas Act requiring municipalities to adopt uniform zoning ordinances that would allow drilling in all zoning districts. Full Text


Shift Toward 'Wet' Gas Doesn't Mean Bust for NEPA, Lawyers Say
The Legal Intelligencer
July 24, 2012


One of Kentucky's largest firms, Stoll Keenon Ogden, has opened an office in Western Pennsylvania with three of its existing lawyers who focus their practices on real estate due diligence and title examinations for oil and gas, as well as coal, producers. Full Text


 Ky. Firm Opens Western Pa. Office With Oil and Gas Focus
The Legal Intelligencer
July 11, 2012


One of Kentucky's largest firms, Stoll Keenon Ogden, has opened an office in Western Pennsylvania with three of its existing lawyers who focus their practices on real estate due diligence and title examinations for oil and gas, as well as coal, producers. Full Text


 Landowner Rights Backers Push to Advance Bill
The Legal Intelligencer
July 3, 2012


Legislation that would amend the Action to Quiet Title Law relating to subsurface rights awaits action in the House Judiciary Committee.Full Text


 Business Groups Lobby for Tax Credit for Petrochemical Plant
The Legal Intelligencer
June 26 2012


Pennsylvania's leading business groups asked members of the General Assembly to approve Governor Tom Corbett's proposal for a multi-year tax credit to cement a deal with Royal Dutch Shell that will bring a petrochemical plant to Southwest Pennsylvania. Full Text


Pipeline Ruling Gives Attorneys Guidance on FERC Reviews
The Legal Intelligencer
June 26, 2012


Energy and environmental lawyers across the state said a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit allowing the construction of a 39-mile long, 30-inch wide natural gas pipeline through Northern Pennsylvania to proceed provides some guidance as to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's standard of review. Full Text


Babst Calland Opens Ohio Office in Response to Drilling Industry Shift
The Legal Intelligencer
June 18, 2012


Pittsburgh-based Babst Calland has opened an Akron, Ohio, office in the hopes of better serving its clients in a natural gas industry that is largely shifting its focus away from Northeastern Pennsylvania and toward Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Full Text


Attorneys Say Drillers Moving Out of Northeastern Pa.
The Legal Intelligencer
June 15, 2012


The financial woes plaguing the nation's second largest natural gas explorer, Chesapeake Energy Corp., have made for headline fodder recently, but some Pennsylvania energy attorneys said the company's problems are indicative of larger trends: the floundering price of "dry" gas and the ongoing shift of drilling operations from Northeastern Pennsylvania to the southwestern portion of the state and Ohio.  Full Text


Lawyers Spar Over Constitutionality of Act 13 Provisions
The Legal Intelligencer
June 7, 2012


Challenges to amendments to Pennsylvania's Oil and Gas Act, prohibiting local municipalities from passing zoning ordinances aimed at banning natural gas drilling, went before the Commonwealth Court on Wednesday in Harrisburg, marking the first time attorneys argued the constitutionality of the closely watched Act 13. Full Text


Act 13 Arguments Set for Wednesday
The Legal Intelligencer
June 5, 2012


An en banc Commonwealth Court panel is set to hear arguments on the constitutionality of recent amendments to the zoning provisions of the state's Oil and Gas Act on Wednesday in Harrisburg. Full Text


'Mineral' Definition Case Could Have Big Impact on Shale
The Legal Intelligencer
May 15, 2012


It has been said that possession is nine-tenths of the law. Recently the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of a case that involves the other one-tenth, which seems unremarkable enough. Except that this one-tenth has the potential to affect hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of oil and gas leases in Pennsylvania. Full Text


Pre-emption and Natural Gas Development: Who Is the Decider?
The Legal Intelligencer
May 1, 2012


Controversy over development of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale and other "unconventional" resources resulted in two unrelated legal news items during the week of April 9. On April 11, Senior Judge Keith Quigley of the Commonwealth Court preliminarily enjoined the effectiveness of Section 3309 of the 2012 amendments to the Oil and Gas Act, known as Act 13. Then, on April 13, President Obama issued Executive Order 13605, titled "Supporting Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources." Each of these events addresses, in part, the important question of which government ought to regulate the pace, manner and form of natural gas development. Full Text


W. Va. Firm Merges With Western Pa. Energy Boutique
The Legal Intelligencer
April 27, 2012


Charleston, W.Va.-based Jackson Kelly has announced it will expand its Western Pennsylvania energy law presence with the addition of Indiana, Pa.-based oil and gas boutique Gormly Gormly & Yuhas. Full Text


Anti-Fracking Group Adds Claims to Surveillance Suit
The Legal Intelligencer
April 24, 2012


Opponents of hydraulic fracturing in Luzerne County can add defamation and conspiracy claims to their suit against the private surveillance company that the government allegedly hired to watch them, a federal judge has ruled. Full Text


Judge Bars Drillers, Lawmakers From Intervening in Act 13 Suit
The Legal Intelligencer
April 23, 2012


A Commonwealth Court judge has barred industry groups, drillers and legislators from intervening in a suit filed by seven Pennsylvania municipalities and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network that alleges the recent zoning-related amendments to the state's Oil and Gas Act are unconstitutional. Full Text


Penn Virginia to Acquire Pipeline Company in $1 Billion Deal
The Legal Intelligencer
April 12, 2012


Penn Virginia Resource Partners said Tuesday that it will pay $1 billion to acquire pipeline company Chief Gathering to expand its own operations in the natural gas-producing Marcellus Shale formation in the northeast United States. Full Text
 



Pa. Justices Agree to Take Up Landmark Shale Case
The Legal Intelligencer
April 5, 2012

The state Supreme Court has granted allocatur in a case in which it has been asked to stop a scientific debate over whether shale is a "mineral" before the debate even begins. Full Text


Small Firms Say Expertise Trumps Size in Marcellus Shale
The Legal Intelligencer
March 27, 2012

The seemingly overnight explosion of the Marcellus Shale play has attracted law firms of all sizes and practices from both inside and outside Pennsylvania. But while some believe the amount of work coming from major drillers will require the huge staff only a megafirm can provide to manage it, smaller firms are banking on the depth of their expertise to help them remain competitive. Full Text
 



Shell's Cracker Plant Moves Toward Reality, but Still Years Away
The Legal Intelligencer
March 27, 2012

The announcement that the Shell Oil Co. chose a Western Pennsylvania site for a multibillion-dollar petrochemical plan delighted business leaders, government and labor officials. Construction on the site, however, is still years away, state officials said. Full Text



Bill to Give Landowners Edge in Mineral Rights Clears Hurdle
The Legal Intelligencer
March 13, 2012


Legislation to assist landowners who, through no fault of their own, cannot gain ownership of their subsurface mineral, oil and gas rights, cleared the state Senate.  Full Text
 



Oil and Gas Lease Fund Expects Weak Collections
The Legal Intelligencer
February 28, 2012


The General Fund where the state's income, sales and corporate taxes are deposited is not the only state fund where anemic collections are predicted. The Oil and Gas Lease Fund will collect nearly $10 million less next fiscal year than it will this year, according to Secretary of the Department Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan. Full Text



New Marcellus Shale Law Expands PUC Powers
The Legal Intelligencer
February 21, 2012


February 21, 2012The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission will have expanded financial control and oversight under the new Marcellus Shale impact fee legislation recently signed by Gov. Tom Corbett. Full Text

 


Changes to Oil and Gas Act Could Raise New Legal Issues
The Legal Intelligencer

February 15, 2012

Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law a measure that makes what some lawyers have called "wholesale" changes to Pennsylvania's Oil and Gas Act, including imposing "impact fees" on Marcellus Shale wells and limiting local governments' ability to regulate drilling. Full Text


Western Pa. Could Become Global Energy Power, Lawyers Say
The Legal Intelligencer
January 31, 2012

As Western Pennsylvania continues to attract oil and gas companies, as well as attorneys and law firms from far and wide, some lawyers say the region is emerging as a major player in the global energy industry whose importance and influence could last well beyond the life span of the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. Full Text


Scientists Investigating Fracking Wastewater Disposal's Link to Earthquakes
The Legal Intelligencer
January 31, 2012

Scientists are assessing whether injecting wastewater from fracking can cause earthquakes, and if it can, whether the quakes are severe enough to cause surface damage. Full Text

Timing of Final Vote on Impact Fee Legislation Uncertain
The Legal Intelligencer
January 24, 2012

Legislative sources said that lawmakers negotiating legislation that will impose an impact fee on natural gas wells in the Marcellus Shale have numerous issues to resolve, leaving the timing for a final vote still up in the air. Full Text


Krancer Letter Suggests DEP, EPA Relations Still Contentious
The Legal Intelligencer
January 17, 2012

In light of a recent letter from the head of the state Department of Environmental Protection to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official that called federal regulators' understanding of a local well water contamination issue "rudimentary," it appears relations between state and federal regulators regarding the Marcellus Shale continue to be strained. Full Text



Drillers Group Asks Court to Hold U.S. Forest Service in Contempt
The Legal Intelligencer

January 12, 2012

A group of Pennsylvania drillers has asked a federal judge to hold the U.S. Forest Service in contempt for refusing to comply with the court's 2009 injunction that lifted the federal agency's de facto ban on drilling in the 512,000-acre Allegheny National Forest. Full Text


Best Practices for Managing Risk in the Marcellus Shale Region
The Legal Intelligencer
December 28, 2011

Companies that either lease land for hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") or provide goods, services or workers to gas companies in the Marcellus Shale region should routinely re-evaluate their risk management strategies. Full Text


Shale Impact Fee Legislation Now in Conference Committee
The Legal Intelligencer
December 27, 2011

The state House of Representatives has refused to concur in Senate amendments to legislation that would impose an impact fee on natural gas drillers in the Marcellus Shale. The bill now moves to a conference committee of House and Senate leaders aimed at reaching a compromise on the language in the new year. The resulting bill will go back to each chamber for an up-or-down vote — under the rules of the General Assembly, no amendments would be permitted. Full Text


Questions Remain About Proposed EPA Air Rules for Natural Gas Wells
The Legal Intelligencer
December 9, 2011

On Nov. 30, the public comment period closed on proposed revisions to the air emission standards prescribed by the federal New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) and the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for the Oil and Natural Gas source category. Full Text


Marcellus Shale Attracts Another Houston Firm to Western Pa.
The Legal Intelligencer
December 6, 2011

The longest Marcellus Shale pipeline may be the one that extends from the heart of Texas to Western Pennsylvania. Full Text


Many Pa. Firms Ready to Take Advantage of 'Hot' Practice Areas
The Legal Intelligencer
December 2, 2011

Law firms with a focus on banking, health care, energy or intellectual property are in a good spot for the coming year, according to Robert Denney Associates' 23rd annual "What's Hot and What's Not in the Legal Profession" report. Full Text



DEP Aims for More Consistency in Drilling Regulation Enforcement
The Legal Intelligencer
November 29, 2011

The Department of Environmental Protection is developing a regulatory system to ensure more statewide consistency in the enforcement of its natural gas and oil drilling regulations, according to a statement released by the department. Full Text


Pa. Decision Could Upset 130 Years of Oil and Gas Conveyances
The Legal Intelligencer
November 29, 2011

Butler v. Charles Powers Estate, a recent decision of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, has thrown into turmoil oil and gas ownership in Pennsylvania. Interpreting nearly 130 years of Pennsylvania law, a three-judge panel of Pennsylvania's intermediate appellate court has questioned who owns the rights to millions. Full Text


Township Council Beats Back Referendum to Ban Drilling
The Legal Intelligencer
November 15, 2011

A referendum banning drilling in a Western Pennsylvania township failed when it won less than 20 percent of the vote in Tuesday's election. The solicitor for Peters Township, William Johnson, said that he and council members were relieved. Full Text



Marcellus Shale and the Ultrahazardous Activity Analysis
The Legal Intelligencer
October 14, 2011

Pennsylvania lies over the heart of the Marcellus Shale formation, a rock unit underlying approximately 65-million acres of land from West Virginia to New York. This formation has been estimated to have a resource value of up to 500-trillion cubic-feet equivalents of natural gas, and has spawned a boom of gas-well drilling in the southwest, northcentral and northeastern portions of the commonwealth. Between January and September, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued 2,514 Marcellus Shale drilling permits, and 1,388 wells were reported as having been drilled. Full Text


Justices Asked to End Debate on 'Mineral' Definition
The Legal Intelligencer
October 14, 2011

The state Supreme Court has been asked to stop a scientific debate over whether the shale in the Marcellus Shale formation is a "mineral" before the debate even begins. Full Text



Corbett Releases Details of His Marcellus Shale Package
The Legal Intelligencer
October 11, 2011

Gov. Tom Corbett unveiled his Marcellus Shale legislative package that includes some of the recommendations made earlier by his Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, including a impact fee on each active well. The proposal also increases setback requirements for wells, and proposes other changes to strengthen laws protecting the environment. Full Text


Marcellus Shale Litigation Diversifying but Not Booming
The Legal Intelligencer
October 4, 2011

According to attorneys across the state, the rise in Marcellus Shale-related litigation is lagging somewhat behind the pace of the natural gas industry's growth, but may speed up in the future. Full Text



Superior Court Says Mineral Rights Could Apply to Shale
The Legal Intelligencer
September 27, 2011


The state Superior Court has allowed a dispute over land rights to move forward so experts can determine whether the shale in the Marcellus Shale formation is considered a "mineral" whose owners also own the natural gas contained within. Full Text

Township Solicitor Asks Court to Take Local Drilling Ban Off Ballot
The Legal Intelligencer
September 27, 2011

Voters in Pennsylvania's Peters Township will never see a referendum banning oil and gas drilling if a Common Pleas Court judge sides with the township solicitor and blocks the question from appearing on the November ballot. Full Text


Zoning Ordinances Top Concern for Energy Industry in Fall Session
The Legal Intelligencer
September 27, 2011

One of the top goals for drillers during the fall legislative session in Harrisburg is approval of a measure preventing local governments from using zoning ordinances to shut them out, according to an official with a prominent driller in the Marcellus Shale. Full Text


3rd Circuit OKs Drilling in Allegheny National Forest
The Legal Intelligencer
September 21, 2011

A federal appeals court has ruled that the U.S. Forest Service overstepped its authority when it imposed a ban on oil and gas drilling in the 512,000-acre Allegheny National Forest. Full Text
 

State in Competition With Neighbors for Petrochemical Plant
The Legal Intelligencer
September 20, 2011

Pennsylvania is competing with Ohio and West Virginia for the location of a Shell petrochemical plant that, according to one report, will bring 10,000 construction jobs, hundreds of full-time plant jobs, and thousands of additional spin-off jobs to the winner. Full Text
 
 
Marcellus Shale Attracts Laterals From Miles Around
The Legal Intelligencer
September 20, 2011


As the natural gas industry continues to expand its footprint in Western Pennsylvania, the region is quickly becoming a desired destination for energy and environmental attorneys. Full Text
 

 Accord in Marcellus Shale Case Highlights Contract Signature Requirements
The Legal Intelligencer
September 6, 2011

A group of 230 people who executed approximately 137 oil and gas leases with Rex Energy covering about 7,200 acres in Westmoreland County, Pa., sued the company when they did not receive the pre-paid rental bonus payments set forth in the leases. They argued the leases they signed with Rex were valid even though Rex never signed them. Rex argued the leases were unenforceable until approved and executed by the company Full Text.


 
Case Digest: Butler v. Charles Powers Estate
The Legal Intelligencer
September 6, 2011

The court gave the parties the opportunity to obtain experts to determine if Marcellus Shale constituted such a mineral that the gas in it fell within the deed's reservation. Order sustaining preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer was reversed. Full Text
 

Shale to Benefit White-Collar Workers Too, Official Says
The Legal Intelligencer
September 6, 2011

Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele told certified public accountants in a continuing education class on the Marcellus Shale that the drilling for natural gas in the Shale is increasing opportunities for CPAs and other professionals. Full Text



New Shale Report 'Not a Game-Changer,' Lawyers Say
The Legal Intelligencer
August 31, 2011


A new report by the U.S. Geological Survey regarding the amount of recoverable natural gas contained in the Marcellus Shale has garnered major press since the agency sent out its Aug. 23 press release detailing its findings, but Pennsylvania energy attorneys said the data is not necessarily as newsworthy as either pro- or anti-drilling factions have made it out to be. Full Text


 

Marcellus Shale Commission Provides Roadmap for Reform in Pa.
The Legal Intelligencer

August 12, 2011

On July 22, the long-anticipated final report of the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission was released. This groundbreaking 137-page report contains a vast array of non-binding policy recommendations pertaining to Pennsylvania's natural gas boom ranging from zoning reform to mineral rights. Included among these are a series of recommendations that could substantially transform Pennsylvania's existing environmental policy landscape in the coming months. Full Text


Does More Drilling Mean More Crime?
The Legal Intelligencer
August 9, 2011

The meteoric rise of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania in recent years has boosted the economies of some of the state's smallest and most rural counties.

Are Pa. Oil and Gas Wells Ripe Targets for Mechanics' Liens?
The Legal Intelligencer
August 9, 2011


As Marcellus Shale drilling continues to increase in the state, questions as to whether oil and gas wells, their fixtures, and the associated mineral and royalty rights may be properly subjected to liens will become more urgent. Full Text
 

Impact Fees, Land Pooling Included in Corbett Commission Shale Report
The Legal Intelligencer
August 2, 2011

On July 22, the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission made its recommendations official by making them public and sending them to Gov. Tom Corbett. As expected, the report calls for the imposition of local impact fees, as well as for pooling that will allow drillers to extract natural gas from land without lease agreements if it's contiguous to land that does have an agreement with a driller. Both recommendations require approval by the General Assembly. Full Text


Energy Focus Sparks Changes at Top for K&L Gates' Pittsburgh Office
The Legal Intelligencer
August 2, 2011

K&L Gates' Pittsburgh office has a new administrative partner after its former head accepted a new role co-leading the firm's recently created energy, infrastructure and resources practice group. Full Text

 


Report on Marcellus Shale Just a Start, Lawyers Say
The Legal Intelligencer
July 27, 2011

Environmental lawyers across Pennsylvania commended the 137-page report issued Friday by Gov. Tom Corbett's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission but said the document is merely a jumping off point for what is likely to become a very complicated set of statewide environmental issues. Full Text


The Frack Panel: Drilling Down on Representation and Timing Issues
The Legal Intelligencer
July 26, 2011

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has long had a Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) to advise it. In January 2011, following through on President Obama's "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future" (a comprehensive plan to reduce America's oil dependence, save consumers money, and make our country the leader in clean energy), DOE Secretary Steven Chu created a three-member panel, the "Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Natural Gas Subcommittee," aka the frack panel. Full Text


Impact Fees Among Dozens of Marcellus Shale Commissions Recommendations
The Legal Intelligencer
July 26, 2011

Adoption of impact fees, pooling of property, and 94 other recommendations regarding natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale were approved by Gov. Tom Corbett's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission during its final public meeting July 15. Detailed recommendations were unavailable at press time. The report was due to be presented to Corbett on July 22. Full Text


Accord in Marcellus Shale Case Highlights Contract Signature Requirements
The Legal Intelligencer
July 26, 2011

Legal tip: Signatures on contracts are not necessary. At least that was the argument made by a potential class of landowners who reached a settlement last week with an energy company that they alleged reneged on a deal to lease their properties for Marcellus Shale drilling. Full Text


 
The 'Bundle of Sticks' in Oil and Gas Leases
The Legal Intelligencer
July 26, 2011

In 2002's United States v. Craft, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the first principles of property law in a case dealing with — of all things — a tax lien: "A common idiom describes property as a 'bundle of sticks' — a collection of individual rights which, in certain combinations, constitute property." Full Text


How Far Can Pa. Municipalities Go in Regulating Gas Drilling?
The Legal Intelligencer
July 14, 2011

With the recent surge of drilling into Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale as a source of natural gas production, local governments are looking for guidance on the issue of what they can and cannot regulate with regard to oil and gas drilling. Full Text


One Air Emission Source or Many?
The Legal Intelligencer
June 28, 2011

Two recent appeals to the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board raise difficult issues concerning aggregation of air emission sources for purposes of regulating them under the federal Clean Air Act and the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act. Of course, those appeals arise from natural gas development activity associated with the Marcellus Shale. Full Text


Arbitration Proposed for Gas Well Disputes
The Legal Intelligencer
June 21, 2011

An arbitration panel established for a little-used natural gas extraction process would be expanded for all natural gas and oil well disputes in Pennsylvania under legislation recently introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate. The General Assembly established the three-member Coal Bed Methane Review Board in 2010 to resolve access roads, placement of pipelines and other disputes between surface land owners and those who own the mineral rights. Full Text


Reed Smith, K&L Gates Handle Exxon Mobil's $1.7 Bil. Marcellus Buy
The Legal Intelligencer
June 10, 2011

The Marcellus Shale wasn't the only thing Pennsylvanian in Exxon Mobil 's nearly $1.7 billion acquisition of two of the state's natural gas exploration and distribution companies. Full Text


Shale Drilling Is Creating Jobs, State Report Says
The Legal Intelligencer
June 7, 2011

Environmentalists and natural gas drillers will likely never agree on hydraulic fracturing or on whether taxes should be paid. But it's hard to debate the number of jobs the industry has created. Full Text


VIDEO: Who Regulates the Marcellus Shale?
The Legal Intelligencer
May 17, 2011

Reporter Zack Needles examines the dichotomy between state and federal environmental oversight when it comes to regulating the Marcellus Shale. Full Text


Court's Impact on Marcellus Shale Developing as Case Law Takes Shape
The Legal Intelligencer
May 17, 2011

When the state Supreme Court issued its decision last year on how to properly calculate royalties owed by gas companies to landowners, attorneys representing the industry couldn't oversell its importance. Full Text


EPA, DEP Could Be Headed for Marcellus Shale Turf War
The Legal Intelligencer
May 16, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has once again taken steps to assert itself in the Marcellus Shale play that some environmental lawyers said could lead to a communication breakdown with the state Department of Environmental Protection. Full Text


Out-of-State Law Firms Still Need Pa. Lawyers in Marcellus Shale Play
The Legal Intelligencer
May 10, 2011

The past few years have seen Texas and West Virginia firms attempting to establish themselves in Pennsylvania in hopes of competing for Marcellus Shale work. Full Text


Few Pa. Law Firms Involved in Marcellus Shale Lobbying
The Legal Intelligencer
April 27, 2011

While many firms across the state do Marcellus Shale-related legal work and have lobbying arms, only a handful of them are lobbying on behalf of the natural gas industry. Full Text


DEP Acts to Stem Flow of Wastewater From Shale to Treatment Plants
The Legal Intelligencer
April 26, 2011

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is asking companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale to stop sending wastewater generated from the drilling to 15 treatment facilities, most of which are in western Pennsylvania. Full Text


As Courts Brace for Shale's Impact, Attorneys See New Business
The Legal Intelligencer
April 26, 2011

Normally, life in the Recorder of Deeds office at the Butler County courthouse is pretty predictable. Full Text


EPA May Be Looking Over DEP's Shoulder in Marcellus Shale Play
The Legal Intelligencer
April 19, 2011

As the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania continues its rapid swell on the strength of the Marcellus Shale, environmental attorneys said it's likely to be, and in some ways already is, a source of friction between state and federal regulators. Full Text


On Marcellus Shale Policy, DEP's Krancer Should Have Known Better
The Legal Intelligencer
April 12, 2011

I never thought I'd see a governor as in love with an industry as former Gov. Edward G. Rendell was with gaming — until current Gov. Tom "I Don't Give a Frack" Corbett got sworn in and entered the political equivalent of a shotgun wedding with the natural gas industry. Full Text


Plaintiffs Lawyers Eyeing Marcellus Shale
The Legal Intelligencer
April 5, 2011

The sound of drills piercing the Marcellus Shale formation has pricked up the ears of attorneys whose practices range from tax and regulatory to land use and environmental. But personal injury lawyers and class action attorneys have also taken notice of what some believe is an environmental disaster in waiting because of a lack of state government oversight and a natural gas industry rushing to get a piece of the shale. Full Text


West Virginia Firm Acquires Western Pa. Energy Practice
The Legal Intelligencer
September 29, 2010

For many Pennsylvania firms, the Marcellus Shale is as much a resource for legal work as it is for natural gas, but they could soon find themselves facing increasing out-of-state competition. Full Text


More Natural Gas Drillers Comply With Production Reporting
The Legal Intelligencer
September 21, 2010

The Department of Environmental Protection is backing off threats of penalties for natural gas drillers as their reporting on well production levels improves. Full Text.


Commonwealth Court Upholds Zoning Regulations Affecting Gas Drilling
The Legal Intelligencer
September 20, 2010

The activity now focused on development of the Marcellus Shale formation may or may not rise to the level of a "gas rush," but if not, it's not far off. In many respects, the current interest in signing gas leases and permitting sites resembles the development of cell phone towers during the 1990s, when pressure was high among telecom companies to be the first to obtain rights to choice locations, and often in the face of local opposition. Full Text


Pittsburgh Pirates: Firm Goes on Steel City Hiring Binge
The Legal Intelligencer
September 15, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - The Marcellus Shale has created a flurry of lateral movement across Pennsylvania recently and now Houston-based energy law firm Burleson Cooke has joined in, adding four attorneys to its year-old Pittsburgh office since Sept. 1. Full Text


Natural Gas Company Discloses Chemicals Used in Drilling Process
The Legal Intelligencer
September 14, 2010

A natural gas driller with a significant presence in Pennsylvania, Range Resources Corp., submitted its first hydraulic fracturing disclosure forms to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Full Text


No Clear Direction for Tiered Natural Gas Tax Proposal
The Legal Intelligencer
August 24, 2010

A coalition of natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania is proposing the General Assembly adopt a tiered severance tax rate, which would result in lower rates for newer and lower producing wells. The tiered system would help the drillers stay competitive with other states, industry officials say. Full Text


More Natural Gas Drillers Comply With Production
The Legal Intelligencer
August 21, 2010

The Department of Environmental Protection is backing off threats of penalties for natural gas drillers as their reporting on well production levels improves. Full Text


The Sweetest Sound? Marcellus Shale evokes hopes of jingling pockets, but also fears of eventual destitution
The Legal Intelligencer
August 3, 2010

Tony, in West Side Story, uttering the name Maria, styled it "the most beautiful sound I ever heard ... all the beautiful sounds of the world in a single word…" Full Text


Tough Natural Gas Tax Negotiations Await
The Legal Intelligencer
July 27, 2010

Lawmakers and Gov. Edward G. Rendell set an October 1 deadline for approval of an extraction tax on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. To date, no specifics of the plan have been agreed to. Full Text


Cohen & Grigsby Expands Land Use Capabilities
The Legal Intelligencer
July 22, 2010

As the Marcellus Shale proves to be as rich a source of legal work as it is of natural gas, Pittsburgh-based Cohen & Grigsby has bulked up its litigation, construction, environmental, real estate and appellate litigation groups with two attorneys who focus their practices primarily on land use, energy and governmental law. Full Text


Drill, Baby, Drill?: Questions abound as Marcellus Shale regulations weighed, debated
The Legal Intelligencer
July 6, 2010

Development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas play has sparked a natural resource "boom" in western and northern Pennsylvania, along with neighboring states West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland. It could do the same in the southern tier of New York. Full Text


Potential for 212,000 New Jobs From Shale Drilling, Study Says
The Legal Intelligencer
June 1, 2010

A new Penn State study says that natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania has the potential to create an additional 212,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. The study is an update to one first issued in July 2009. Full Text


Lateral Market Gets Boost From Oil and Gas Industry Legal Work
The Legal Intelligencer
May 6, 2010

Not only has the Marcellus Shale drummed up significant legal work for litigators, land use and transactional attorneys alike, it has created movement in the lateral market as firms look to build practices catering to the oil and gas industry's interest in the natural gas reserves within the shale. Full Text


Still in Infancy, Marcellus Shale Rush Brings Substantial Legal Work to Pa.
The Legal Intelligencer
May 4, 2010

Douglas Clark had been a criminal defense attorney in the Scranton area for a decade when the natural gas boom came calling in 2007. Full Text


A Marcellus Shale Gold Rush? Terms Lawyers Should Know
The Legal Intelligencer
April 9, 2010

North and west of the Philadelphia region, about 40 Pennsylvania counties sit upon the "Marcellus Shale" — named after Marcellus, a New York town. By some estimates, the Marcellus Shale may produce more than 400 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to supply U.S. natural gas needs for 20 years. Full Text


High Court: Gas Royalty Payments Meet Minimum Level
The Legal Intelligencer
April 6, 2010

The state Supreme Court has rebuffed some Pennsylvania landowners by agreeing with oil and gas industry arguments that royalty payments for gas extracted from their land do meet the minimum levels established in a 1979 state law, the Minimum Royalty Act. Full Text


Pa. Supreme Court OKs Royalty Terms in Marcellus Shale Land Leases
The Legal Intelligencer
March 26, 2010

The state Supreme Court has validated the royalty terms of leases between gas companies and landowner-lessors in the Marcellus Shale in a ruling that marks a win for natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania and could affect more than 70 suits pending in state and federal courts. Full Text


Firms Grow Greener as Environmental Law Heats Up
Pennsylvania Law Weekly
February 5, 2010

Environmental law, which saw the same slowdown in transactional work other practices did along with decreased enforcement under the Bush administration, is showing signs of life in both lateral movement and practice niches. Full Text 

 

 

 

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