In this week's news update, pipeline growth is expected in the Marcellus Shale region over the next several years, and a federal judge in Wyoming halts the Bureau of Land Management's new fracking rule.
A federal judge in Wyoming issued a temporary stay against the implementation of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s fracking rule that would have gone into effect June 24.
The temporary stay came following a hearing June 23 on a motion for a preliminary injunction. Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled that the effective date for the new rule would be delayed at least until after the U.S. Department of Justice filed an administrative record in the lawsuit.
After the administrative record is filed on July 22, all parties in the lawsuit against the BLM will have seven days to supplement their legal papers. The court is expected to issue a final decision on the preliminary injunction motion in August.
When the new rule was released in March, the BLM said the new standards support safe and responsible fracking on public and American Indian lands. The rules were also intended to improve safety and help protect groundwater by updating requirements for well-bore integrity, wastewater disposal and public disclosure of chemicals, according to the BLM.
Pipeline Growth Expected in Marcellus Shale
The Marcellus Shale region can expect to see about 17 pipeline projects start over the next three years, according to IHS Energy, which tracks energy markets.
The pipelines are to carry about 17.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas out of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to end users. The infrastructure is in high demand as natural gas production ramped up in the Marcellus and Utica regions. The existing pipeline network has maxed out, IHS says.
The destinations of the pipelines are varied, from New England to the Midwest, eastern Canada and the south.
Ute Tribe to Enter Lawsuit against Bureau of Lane Management
The Ute Indian Tribe in Utah announced June 23 that it plans to join a federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management over the agency’s new rules on hydraulic fracturing, according to tribal leaders.
The tribe says they must take a stand against the new rules – which were supposed to go into effect June 24 – or risk “irreversible damage to the tribe’s economy.” The rule was temporarily blocked by a federal judge on June 23.
The tribe believes tribal officials, not the federal government, are the proper stewards of the Uintah-Ouray Reservation “because this is our homeland, and we live and work on these lands,” the chairman said.
The BLM says about 90 percent of wells drilled on federal and Native American lands across the U.S. use hydraulic fracturing. Under the new rules, energy companies would be required to validate the integrity of their wells to protect groundwater sources; disclose the chemicals used in fracking through the FracFocus website within 30 days of completing their work; improve short-term storage of wastewater produced as part of the fracking operations; and take measures to decrease the risk of cross-well contamination.