FEDERAL - JUDICIAL: Hydraulic Fracturing; Public Lands – California. On June 12, environmental groups and California’s attorney general filed notices of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to challenge the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era rulemaking regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands. Those restrictions never took effect due to protracted litigation, and the Trump administration officially eliminated them in 2017. In the consolidated cases, California v. Bernhardt (Case No. 4:18-cv-00521-HSG) and Sierra Club v. Bernhardt (Case No. 4:18-cv-00524-HSG), the plaintiffs argued that the rollback violated the Administrative Procedure Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Endangered Species Act. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, however, rejected the arguments, and ruled in favor of the Trump administration, finding the Interior Department complied with federal law when it scrapped the standards for construction, wastewater management, and chemical disclosure for hydraulic fractured oil and gas wells on those lands. In the wake of the appeal, the Interior Department defended its actions, saying that it “continues to implement the President’s agenda to repeal overly burdensome regulations and ensure America’s energy independence, while protecting the safety of our workers and the health of our environment,” according to a statement by Interior Department spokesman Conner Swanson. “We are confident that the Courts will, again, affirm the Department’s actions.” Read more.
STATE - LEGISLATIVE: Recording Fees – Mississippi. (Update to 3/16/20 Weekly Report) On June 22, HB 1175 was enrolled after passage and concurrence by the House and Senate. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Brent Powell (R), revises court clerk fees charged for recording oil and gas assignment instruments from a per book and page fee to a “per assignee” flat fee and allows for a set fee for marginal notations entered pertaining to the recording of oil and gas assignments. Read more.
INDUSTRY NEWS: Oil markets moving closer to balance. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has reported in its June Short-Term Energy Outlook that a faster recovery of global oil demand and steeper declines in global oil production are bringing markets closer to balance sooner than forecasted a month ago. The report also saw increases in global consumption of oil from April to May. Read more.