Fracking Insider Readers: We are pleased to bring you Volume 24 of our State Regulatory Roundup, including updates in Colorado, Florida, and Michigan. 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.

Colorado – The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has joined a lawsuit filed by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) against the City of Longmont to overturn a voter-approved ban on hydraulic fracturing in the city. This case is the second that the state has joined against Longmont, the first having been filed in July 2012 to target a set of city council-approved regulations that prohibited drilling in residential neighborhoods.

Florida – Advanced Energy Solutions, L.L.C. has filed an application to export up to 8 Bcf per year of domestically produced LNG to free trade partners in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The liquefaction of the gas will occur at the Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company’s proposed LNG facilities, and will then be exported from the Port of Palm Beach in approved ISO containers.

Michigan – Proposed hydraulic fracturing projects in Michigan are prompting calls from Democrats in the state legislature and environmental activists for new rules for water withdrawals. It was reported that Encana Corp. needed to truck in water from a municipality near a well it was drilling in June, raising concerns that hydraulic fracturing in the local formation may require more water than previously estimated, and that the state’s relatively new water withdrawal assessment tool may need to be reevaluated. A group of Democrats in the state House introduced an eight bill package (H.B. 4899-4906) on July 11th to further regulate hydraulic fracturing in the state

  • H.B. 4899 would allow and interested party to request a public hearing before a permit for drilling could be issued.
  • H.B. 4900 would require disclosure of information on fluids that will be used for hydraulic fracturing before a drilling permit may be issued, and requires the use of a tracer chemical that can make the presence of chemicals in drinking water easier to detect.
  • H.B. 4901 would require state agencies to conduct a study of the public health, environmental, and natural resource impacts of the development of shale formations.
  • H.B. 4902 would create a rebuttable presumption that a person conducting hydraulic fracturing is liable for contamination of groundwater in the vicinity of a well.
  • H.B. 4903 would require oil and gas companies to use the withdrawal assessment tool that is designed to gauge whether large-volume withdrawals will harm lakes and streams.
  • H.B. 4904 would allow local governments to regulate hydraulic fracturing operations.
  • H.B. 4905 would prohibit the use of flowback water as a dust suppressant on roads.
  • H.B. 4906 would prohibit the issuance of a permit for drilling for a well that would be within 1000 feet of a residential building, school, child care facility, hospital, or park.

Andrew McNamee