Jackson Walker partner Leonard Dougal was quoted in an April 24, 2015, Law360 article on legal and regulatory issues which may arise from recent studies purporting to link increased seismic activity to nearby wastewater injection and production wells associated with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations.
In the article, “Quake Links Turn Up Legal, Regulatory Heat On Drillers,” Leonard said plaintiffs making nuisance or negligence claims against well operators will find proving causation a significant challenge.
“Those are going to be expensive cases to litigate because of the experts you’re going to need and the need to prove causation and disprove other effects that might be causing the earthquakes,” he said.
Leonard also said the studies may result in increased regulation of injection wells, including limits on the amount and pressure of wastewater injected, which could encourage operators to reuse more wastewater.
“There’s already been a big push in Texas to recycle and reuse produced fluids,” he said. “These issues around seismicity will further encourage people to recycle and reuse.”
Leonard H. Dougal represents a diverse group of clients in complex environmental permitting and water supply matters, including energy companies involved in shale development, power generation companies, real estate developers and special utility districts. He is also active in water quality issues where he represents mining and energy companies, developers and agricultural operators in permit and compliance matters.
Leonard has a special interest in hydraulic fracturing and shale play development, as he worked as a petroleum engineer for Exxon Company, U.S.A. prior to attending law school.