On October 24, 2017, the Department of the Interior (“Interior”) filed its final report summarizing its review of Interior actions that potentially burden the development or use of energy produced in the United States. The review and resulting report were required by President Trump’s Executive Order 13783, which instructs the agencies to pay “particular attention” to any actions that delay or impose additional costs on oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources.
Continue Reading Substantial Changes Underway at Interior to Reduce Burdens on Oil, Natural Gas, and Coal

In the latest high-profile legal challenge to President Obama’s efforts to combat climate change, a coalition of 14 states and state agencies has filed a legal challenge to the final Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methane rule seeking to curb methane emissions from new and modified oil and gas wells. The petition for review, filed in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals on August 2, was brought by West Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wisconsin, along with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. A coalition of 19 independent oil and gas trade groups also filed a challenge to the methane rule on August 2. The rule had already been challenged in federal court by North Dakota and Texas. In response, this week nine states and six environmental advocacy groups filed motions to intervene in the lawsuits in support of the new emissions standards.
Continue Reading More States Sue EPA Over Final Methane Rule

Drilling rig at dawnIn the wake of several state court decisions ruling that municipal bans or moratoria on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are preempted by state laws, anti-fracking activists are now turning to state ballot initiatives in an attempt to ban or restrict the practice. Fracking refers to the process by which water, sand and a small amount of chemicals are injected at high pressure deep underground to create fractures in dense rock, thereby increasing reservoir permeability to allow oil and gas to more easily flow to the wellbore. The process, in combination with horizontal drilling, has dramatically increased oil and gas production in the U.S. over the past decade.
Continue Reading State Ballot Initiatives: The Latest Front on the War Against Fracking