FEDERAL - JUDICIAL: BLM Leasing – Colorado. On December 10, in Citizens for a Healthy Community v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management (Case No. 17-cv-02519), the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado dealt a blow to environmental activists looking to halt 146 natural gas wells in the Bull Mountain Unit. The Court held that the BLM’s failure to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act in approving natural gas drilling in Colorado’s North Fork Valley does not require the plan to be vacated, because there is a “serious possibility” the agency can substantiate the decision based on new data. However, in the interim period when the BLM will be conducting further analysis of “the reasonably foreseeable indirect impacts of oil and gas” in the unit, all related Applications for Permits to Drill (APDs) will be suspended, and no other APDs will be approved pending completion of the analysis. Read more.STATE - JUDICIAL: Leasing; Well Plugging – Ohio. On November 18, in Head v. Victor McKenzie Drilling, Inc. (Case No. 19-CA-00002), the Ohio Court of Appeals, Fifth District, addressed a case involving the plugging of a non-producing well where the lease agreement expired under its own terms due to lack of production of oil and gas in paying quantities. The trial court ordered the defendant to remove and plug the oil and gas well associated with this lease agreement and remove any associated lines on the plaintiffs' property. The operator brought this appeal challenging the trial court claiming the sole authority to order plugging rested solely with the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. Here, the Court agreed holding the trial court did not have jurisdiction to order the defendant to plug the well. Read more.INDUSTRY NEWS: Continental Resources names Harold Hamm successor. William Berry has been appointed CEO of Continental Resources Inc. Harold Hamm, founder and current CEO, will become Executive Chairman effective January 1, 2020. Since 2014, Berry has been a director of Continental Resources. Hamm has served as the company’s CEO since 1967. Read more.