D & L Energy, Inc. v. Div. of Oil & Gas Resources Mgmt., Appeal No. 847 (Ohio Oil & Gas Comm’n June 2013). D & L Energy, Inc. (D&L) appealed an order of the Ohio Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management revoking saltwater injection well permits held by D&L, denying applications for new injection wells, ordering cessation of use of a temporary storage facility, and ordering disposal of all oilfield waste at the temporary facility within a specified timeframe. This order effectively terminated D&L’s oilfield waste disposal operations in Ohio. On appeal, the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission affirmed the order, finding that the Division chief had authority to revoke permits and that D&L’s participation in an illegal dumping incident in January 2013 was “so egregious” as to justify the draconian effects of the mandates in the Division chief’s order.
Matter of Fluid Recovery Services, LLC, Docket No. CWA-03-2013-0051DN; Matter of Hart Resource Technologies, Inc., Docket No. CWA-03-2013-0049; Matter of Pennsylvania Brine Treatment, Inc., Docket No. CWA-03-2013-0050 (EPA Region III May 2013). EPA entered into consent agreements and final orders (CAFOs) with two companies that operated wastewater treatment facilities in western Pennsylvania and an administrative order for compliance on consent (AOCOC) with the two companies and a third company that was to become their successor in interest. The CAFOs and AOCOC settled alleged violations of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. The violations were associated with the treatment of wastewater produced by shale gas extraction activities. The AOCOC barred the wastewater treatment facilities operated by respondents from discharging wastewater from shale gas extraction activities until certain improvements had been made at the facilities and Water Quality Management permits and renewed or modified NPDES permits that specified more stringent discharge limitations had been obtained.
U.S. v. SG Interests I, Ltd., No. 12-cv-00395 (D. Colo. Dec. 12, 2012; Apr. 22, 2013). In a civil antitrust action, the U.S. alleged that Gunnison Energy Corporation (GEC) and SG Interests I, Ltd. and SG Interests VII, Ltd. (collectively, SGI) violated section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1). In 2005, the companies—which acquired and developed gas leases in the Ragged Mountain Area in Colorado—entered into a memorandum of understanding that provided that only SGI would bid on certain leases offered by BLM and that if SGI won the auction it would assign a 50-percent interest to GEC at a cost. In December 2012, the district court rejected a settlement proffered by the parties as not in the public interest and denied a motion for entry of final judgment. The court found that it was inappropriate to combine settlement of the antitrust allegations with settlement of False Claims Act claims pending in a separate lawsuit. Moreover, the court cited the “unrepentant arrogance” of GEC in its response to public comments on the proposed settlement and found that it would not be in the public interest to permit a defendant “to leave its civil action in such a smirking, self-righteous attitude.” The court found no basis for saying that the settlement would deter defendants or other actors in the industry, noting that GEC had indicated that “joint bidding” was a common practice. In April 2013, the district court approved a settlement that did not involve the False Claims Act claims, which were settled separately. The court entered final judgment with respect to both SGI and GEC.