EQT Settles WV Class Action Royalty Lawsuit for $53.5M

In 2013 some 10,000 West Virginia landowners/rights owners filed a class action lawsuit against EQT over their practice of post-production deductions from royalty checks. The lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial last November, but at the last minute, it didn’t. Word leaked that EQT had settled out of court (see EQT Avoids Trial, Settles WV Class Action re Royalty Deductions). Since that time we haven’t heard a peep–until this morning when EQT announced the terms of a “tentative” settlement.
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Atlantic Coast Pipeline – Where Do Things Stand?

Although Dominion Energy’s 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is facing serious delays and cost overruns mainly due to lawsuits brought by Big Green groups, the company is still committed to building the pipeline (see Dominion “Still Committed” to Building Atlantic Coast Pipeline). The project is now delayed until late 2020 for a partial startup, with full service sometime in 2021, and the new price tag has ballooned to $7.5 billion. Where, exactly, do things stand? What’s holding it up? Give us a sitrep!
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ET Still Fighting Ohio AG re Rover Pipe Enviro Violations

Ohio’s current Governor, Mike DeWine, is an establishment-type swamp dwelling Republican. DeWine was Attorney General for Ohio in November 2017 when he was manipulated into suing Energy Transfer claiming the Rover Pipeline project was guilty of “polluting state waters while constructing a natural gas pipeline across Ohio” (see OH EPA Director Manipulates Atty General to Sue Rover Pipeline). The lawsuit has essentially gone nowhere since that time.
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Weymouth, MA Loses Fed Court Case to Block Compressor Station

The folks of Weymouth, Massachusetts have for years tried to block a new compressor station project, part of a Spectra Energy/Enbridge project to beef up capacity along the Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline. Algonquin filed a lawsuit against Weymouth Town and its conservation commission in District Court of Massachusetts. The court ruled in Algonquin’s favor and the town appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
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NY Court Shoots Down Request to Roll Back Power Plant Conversion

It is beyond bizarre that the Sierra Club, which claims it defends the environment, works so hard to stop electric generating plants from converting from coal to natural gas. As we pointed out yesterday, gas-fired plants produce a small fraction of nasty pollutants like sulfur dioxide, compared with coal (see PA DEP to Issue “Acid Rain Permit” to Scranton Gas-Fired Power Plant). Yet the Sierra Club continues to launch lawsuit after lawsuit aimed at stopping conversion from coal to gas. Why?
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Antis Try to Pick Open Old Scab of Settled (and Sealed) Range Case

Three families who live near a former drill site and frack wastewater impoundment at the Yeager Marcellus Shale site in Washington County, PA sued Range Resources in May 2012 claiming the air they breathe and the water they drink had been contaminated by Range’s operations at the site (see EPA Investigating Range Drill Site in Western PA). The case was eventually settled and sealed in September 2018.
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6th Circuit Court Upholds Ohio’s Forced Pooling Law

Landowners in Ohio who didn’t like being force pooled with their neighbors have, since 2015, tried to get the courts to declare that forced pooling is illegal. They’ve struck out in every court where they’ve tried that argument, including (now) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
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Federal Court Slaps Down NY DEC Rejection of Northern Access Pipe

The New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), thoroughly corrupted by, and a political tool of, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, continues to have a bad week. Monday we told you about a recent court decision that gives new hope for both the Constitution and Northern Access Pipeline projects (see Recent Fed Court Decision Gives NY Pipes Hope for Bypassing Cuomo). A second court decision has just been issued that allows Northern Access to take a huge step forward.
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Dimock, PA Landowners Paid $5K/Mo by Green Groups to Bash Cabot

A startling revelation came from yesterday’s court hearing in the tiny village of Montrose, PA. Some of the landowners from Dimock, PA who have traveled around the country claiming their water had been contaminated by Cabot Oil & Gas (remember the fraud “documentary” called Gasland?) were actually paid up to $5,000 *per month* by green groups to spread their lies.
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Recent Fed Court Decision Gives NY Pipes Hope for Bypassing Cuomo

A huge crack of sunshine has just shown through the court system with respect to pipeline projects. A case decided on Jan. 25 in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals which technically has nothing to do with either the Williams Constitution Pipeline project nor the National Fuel Gas Company Northern Access Pipeline project (both being blocked by New York State), may be the one court decision to break open the logjam and allow both projects to begin construction.
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Dominion Delays Atlantic Coast Pipeline Again – 2018 Update

In November, Dominion Energy said that their 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) would be delayed, with a partial startup in 2019 and full startup for everything else in mid-2020 (see Dominion Energy 3Q18: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Delayed to 2020). The company also said the price tag had gone up from $6.5 to $7 billion. Strike all that. Last week Dominion said the startup will now be even later, and the cost even more.
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PA Chamber Files Brief in Martian School Court Case

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry (PA Chamber) recently filed a brief in Commonwealth Court opposing THE Delaware Riverkeeper in a case that still has us angry and baffled. The case brought by Riverkeeper is clear across the state, hundreds of miles from the Delaware River Basin where Riverkeeper supposedly operates, and attempts to force a local municipality to adopt zoning ordinances it doesn’t want to adopt. And it involves Martians.
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“Rule of Capture” Briefs Filed w/PA Supreme Court in Briggs Case

In November the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hear a case, Briggs v. Southwestern Energy, that is hands-down the most important court case to ever happen regarding the Marcellus Shale in PA. And no, we’re not exaggerating. A blizzard of briefs by Southwestern and those supporting Southwestern were filed earlier this week.
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Columbia Sues Southwestern Energy for Shorting Royalties in WV

Here’s an interesting twist on the theme of drillers shorting leaseholders out of royalty money. Usually such cases involve drillers claiming post-production deductions from landowner royalty checks. This time the landowner/rightsholder is Columbia Gas Transmission (pipeline company owned by midstream giant TransCanada), and the claim is that Southwestern Energy (driller) is not paying royalties for gas produced but not actually sold.
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