FEDERAL - JUDICIAL: BLM Leasing; Greater Sage-Grouse – Montana. On May 22, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana struck down a Trump Administration leasing plan to increase domestic oil and gas output on public lands, saying government officials failed to protect habitat for the Greater Sage-Grouse when it issued numerous oil and gas leases in an area covering roughly 336,000 acres of Western land. In the case, Montana Wildlife Federation v. Bernhardt (Case No. CV-18-69-GF-BMM), Judge Brian Morris said the Interior Department did not do enough to encourage development outside of areas with Greater Sage-Grouse. The order invalidates leases on more than 470 square miles of federal public land in Montana and Wyoming. “As for the lease sales, the errors here occurred at the beginning of the oil and gas lease sale process, infecting everything that followed,” Judge Morris wrote. Chris Tollefson, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management, said officials were reviewing the decision. Read more.STATE - LEGISLATIVE: Tax Filing and Extensions – Louisiana. (Update to 5/26/20 Weekly Report) On June 4, SB 498 was signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards (D). The Act, sponsored by Sen. R.L. Bret Allain (R), provides extensions for tax filing and payments in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act is effective immediately. Read more.STATE - REGULATORY: Voluntary Well Shut-Ins – Oklahoma. On June 3, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) gave oil producers the legal liability protection to voluntarily shut in wells as prices for oil remain under $40 per barrel, but no mandatory order has been issued. “The action ended more than two months of efforts by some oil producers to get the state legal protection to shut-in their wells without the fear of being sued by the owners of the wells in order to stabilize markets.” On April 22, the OCC also issued an emergency order allowing operators to shut in wells to prevent waste. That order was also voluntary and was set to expire mid-July. Read more.INDUSTRY NEWS: Oil market escapes collapse says research. On May 26, Rigzone reported that the oil market has escaped a collapse and will begin to see a rebound in the second half of 2020. This comes from energy research firm, Rystad Energy, which notes that the 16 million barrel-per-day oversupply in crude during April could be reversed altogether by June. “As things are now, this year’s second half is poised to be the time of partial recovery from Covid-19 and also the path to higher oil prices, “noted Rystad Energy’s head of oil market research, Bjornar Tonhaugen. Read more.