May 1, 2015

DOT announces final rule to strengthen safe transportation of flammable liquids by rail

On April 17, 2015 the Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a series of emergency orders designed to help improve the safety of transporting crude oil by rail. In its news release announcing the new orders, the DOT stated, “Immediately slowing trains to 40 mph, increasing inspections for wheels and related…

April 7, 2015

Injection wells, fracking, and earthquakes

There are two ways that oil and gas activity can cause earthquakes. The first is the use of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), the high pressure underground explosive activity that can itself provoke lands to shake. The second is the use of waste injection wells, which can trigger geologic faults to shift.

January 26, 2015

Supreme Court to review EPA rule on power-plant emissions

On November 25, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States granted a petition to review three related cases regarding power plant emissions of mercury and other listed hazardous air pollutants. These cases have been consolidated for hearing to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s…

January 26, 2015

Massey Energy CEO faces criminal indictment for impeding federal regulators

Few thought that the politically powerful chief executive of West Virginia’s Massey Energy would face criminal charges stemming from a 2010 explosion that killed 29 workers at the Upper Big Branch coal mine. But a November grand jury indictment took cynics by surprise. The indictment’s accusations are many. Don Blankenship,…