Fracking Insider Readers: We are pleased to bring you Volume 45 of our State Regulatory Roundup, including updates in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas. As we explained in earlier volumes, we designed the Roundup to provide quick overviews on state regulatory activity. If you have any questions on any of these summaries, please do not hesitate to ask.
Michigan – A University of Michigan report released September 23 includes the results of three years of research on hydraulic fracturing in the state and includes options for policymakers in regulating the process, but does not make specific policy recommendations. The Department of Environmental Quality considered the report’s initial findings when it issued new rules in March, and the final report cites the rules. Those rules include several types of reporting requirements, required preparatory work, and water level monitoring for high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which is defined by the state to be activity intended to use more than 100,000 gallons of fluid.
Pennsylvania – A group organized to support the construction of the proposed PennEast Pipeline has submitted an application to FERC asking for the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity that would authorize the company to construct and operate the pipeline. The 118-mile, 36-inch diameter underground pipeline would deliver one billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus and Utica basins and alleviate existing pipeline capacity constraints in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The pipeline is expected to cost $1 billion and to begin shipments in 2017. PennEast is a consortium organized to support construction of the pipeline, and is comprised of AGL Resources Inc., Spectra Energy Corp., New Jersey Resources Corp., Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., South Jersey Industries Inc., and UGI Corp.
Texas – Courts have dismissed two lawsuits filed against the city of Denton after it passed a referendum banning hydraulic fracturing. (See our previous coverage of the Denton lawsuits here.) A lawsuit filed by the Texas Oil and Gas Association was dismissed on September 4, while a second lawsuit filed by the Texas General Land Office was dismissed on September 11. The lawsuits were filed separately on November 5, after the moratorium was passed, and were later amended to include the city’s gas well moratorium. The state legislature passed H.B. 40 in May, however, which restricted the ability of municipalities to regulate oil and gas production. (See our previous coverage of H.B. 40 here.) The Denton City Council voted to repeal its moratorium to comply with the new law, and it expired August 18, making the issues in both lawsuits moot.