Judge Finds Exxon Not Guilty in Fraud Case – NY AG Humiliated

As it turns out, Exxon didn’t know. You may recall the hue and cry from radical anti-fossil fuelers that #ExxonKnew–knew they were toasting mom earth by extracting and encouraging the burning of oil and natural gas. The New Attorney General’s office launched an investigation, and then a lawsuit, charging the same thing. The NY AG claimed Exxon had defrauded shareholders by covering up knowledge of global warming. The first lawsuit to go to trial against Exxon for causing global warming was in NY, where the AG (Letitia “Tish” James) headed up a disaster of a lawsuit. She (and her office) was thoroughly and completely humiliated by a NY judge who said she never proved anything. Her team’s performance was worse than that of a first-year law student.
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Ruling Stands: States have 1 Calendar Yr to Review Water Permits

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear a case that challenged a ruling in the Hoopa Valley Indian Tribe case–a ruling/case that has HUGE implications for Williams’ Constitution Pipeline running through New York State. The Supreme Court rejection is a crushing defeat for Big Green groups Trout Unlimited and California Trout, and very good news for the Constitution project.
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21 Industry Groups Ask US Supreme Court to Restore Pipeline Permit

Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) previously filed a request with the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that judicially creates a new law stipulating pipelines can’t cross under the Appalachian Trail without (no kidding) an Act of Congress. The clown judges of the Fourth Circus (our name for that court) revoked a permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service. A list of 21 business and oil/gas industry groups filed a “friend of the court” brief yesterday supporting ACP, asking the Supremes to reinstate the Forest Service permit for the project.
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DC Court to Rehear Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Eminent Domain Decision

Lawsuit aims to castrate FERC

Here we go again. In August a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had the right to approve Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project, including the right to use eminent domain to build it before details are finalized over compensation to landowners (see DC Court Upholds FERC Authority in Approving Atlantic Sunrise Pipe). The Sierra Club and other Big Green groups, with endless mountains of money from people like Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, kept pushing and finally convinced the entire DC Circuit (all of the judges, call “en banc”) to rehear and reconsider the case already decided by three of their number.
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Gov’t & Atlantic Coast Pipe File Briefs with U.S. Supreme Court

Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) previously filed a request with the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that judicially creates a new law stipulating pipelines can’t cross under the Appalachian Trail without (no kidding) an Act of Congress. The Supremes get 8,000 such requests each year, and accept maybe 80 (or 1%). Lightning struck. The ACP case was accepted by the Supremes in October (see U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Atlantic Coast Pipeline Case). Briefs by ACP and the Trump administration were filed on Monday.
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FirstEnergy Loses OH Supreme Court Case to Block Referendum

The mafiosi at FirstEnergy lost their lawsuit filed with the Ohio Supreme Court in a bid to block a referendum aimed at giving all Ohio residents the right to vote to overturn an ill-conceived corporate welfare law passed that puts $1 billion into FirstEnergy’s pocket in order to keep two failing nuclear power plants open. Although they lost the case, FirstEnergy claims the Supreme Court decision is a “victory” for their attempt to keep their grubby hands on taxpayer’s money. How does that work?
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SEPA DA Charges Off-Duty Police w/Crime for Providing Pipe Security

Tom Hogan, Chester County’s “buy a DA”

In what has to be the outrage of the century, Chester County, PA District Attorney Tom Hogan, drunk on his own power, has falsely charged both Energy Transfer (Sunoco Logistics Partners) and several PA constables (essentially off duty police officers) with bribery and conspiracy because the off-duty officers had the gall to moonlight as security to protect Mariner East pipeline workers from anti-fossil fuel crazies and wackos.
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2nd Class Action Lawsuit Against ET/Sunoco re Mariner East Pipe

Last week MDN told you about a law firm fishing for Energy Transfer shareholders to join its class action lawsuit against the company over rumors of corruption in obtaining permits to build the Mariner East 2 pipeline project (see Shareholder Lawsuit Filed Against ET/Sunoco re Mariner East Pipe). A second law firm is now trying the same tactic–a second shareholder lawsuit based on unproven rumors.
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OH Supremes Rule Landowners have 21 Yrs to Claim Lease Expiration

An interesting Ohio Supreme Court ruling from last week caught our attention, thanks to the legal beagles at Vorys. As with most of these cases, this one is complex. But we want to highlight *why* it’s important right up front: Landowners (or mineral rights owners, usually the one and the same but not always) have a longer period of time, 21 years, to bring an action to reclaim their severed mineral rights than the previously thought 15 years–in certain situations. That was the upshot in Browne v. Artex Oil Co.
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Fed Judge: Northeast Natural Energy Owes $7.9M to PA Landowners

Northeast Natural Energy (NNE) is a small-to-midsized driller headquartered in Morgantown, WV. It’s a young company, drilling its first shale well in 2013. In April 2017 MDN reported that NNE had obtained $300 million of investment from two investment firms (see WV Driller Northeast Natural Energy Gets $300M Investment). NNE currently owns 49,000 acres of leases “in the heart of the Marcellus Fairway,” operating 27 Marcellus wells and over 100 conventional oil and gas wells, mainly in West Virginia with some located in southwestern Pennsylvania.
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NY AG’s Prosecution of ExxonMobil Falls Apart – Case Dismissed?

New York’s Attorney General has viciously gone after ExxonMobil in state court hoping to prove the company knew, for years, that burning its oil and gas would lead to so-called man-made global warming and eventually kill the planet. And, says the AG, Exxon covered it up from investors because someday their stock will be worthless when everyone finds out, and they don’t want investors to know about it just yet. The AG is trying to prove the company has engaged in securities fraud–and that case is collapsing, near to having all charges dismissed.
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Shareholder Lawsuit Filed Against ET/Sunoco re Mariner East Pipe

Two weeks ago MDN told you about rumors (unconfirmed, but they seem legit) that the FBI is investigating the PA Gov. Tom Wolf administration over how permits came to be issued for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project (see FBI Investigates Wolf Admin for Corruption re ME Pipe Permits). The allegation is that Wolf or members of his staff pressured the Dept. of Environmental Protection to approve permits for the pipeline project in return for something (money or something else). A law firm is using those rumors to launch a class action lawsuit against Energy Transfer (ET), the builder, on behalf of shareholders alleging ET “misled its investors about its business, operational and compliance policies.”
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PA AG Continues NatGas Witch Hunt – 2 Dozen DEP Workers Testify

Last week Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro sat down to talk with the editorial board/reporters of the Washington (PA) Observer-Reporter. He refused to confirm or deny he’s actively conducting a witch hunt of the PA Marcellus Shale industry, including trotting dozens of people before a grand jury–even though the media has been reporting on his grand jury fishing expedition since February (see PA AG Continues Marcellus Witch Hunt, Impanels Grand Jury). No worries. None other than the Deputy Secretary of the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (head of the DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas Management) has confirmed he appeared before Shapiro’s witch hunt grand jury.
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Anti Group Loses Yet Another Penn Twp (PA) Frack Ban Case

A leftist anti-fossil group calling itself Protect PT, in Penn Township (Westmoreland County), PA, backed with big money from Big Green groups, continues to sue in an effort to block shale drilling in the township. And they keep losing their lawsuits. Protect PT has launched multiple challenges to a local Penn Township ordinance which allows Apex Energy and Huntley & Huntley to drill and operate wells.
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PennEast Pipe to Appeal Bungled Fed Court Decision to US Supremes

In September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a precedent-setting decision that disallows PennEast Pipeline from using the federally-delegated power of eminent domain to cross properties either owned by, or with easements granted to, the state of New Jersey (see Federal Court Rules PennEast Pipe Can’t Run Thru NJ State Land). PennEast asked the full court (all of the judges) to rehear the case, which they refused (see Fed Court Refuses to Reconsider PennEast Bad Decision – Now What?). We outlined two possible options for PennEast’s next move, one of them an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. PennEast chose that option yesterday.
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NY AG Case Against Exxon “Knowing” About Global Warming Collapsing

New York’s Attorney General has viciously gone after ExxonMobil in state court hoping to prove the company knew, for years, that burning its oil and gas would lead to so-called man-made global warming and eventually kill the planet. And, says the vicious AG, Exxon covered it up from investors because someday their stock will be worthless when everyone finds out, and they don’t want investors to know about it just yet. The AG is trying to prove the company has engaged in securities fraud.
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