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Sierra Club v. Chesapeake Operating, LLC et al.

United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
248 F. Supp.3d 1194 (2017)


Facts

Sierra Club (plaintiff) brought suit against Chesapeake Operating, LLC and other oil and gas producers (defendants) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Sierra Club alleged that the producers’ use of waste-injection wells had contributed to a significant increase in earthquakes throughout the state. Sierra Club sought an order from the court requiring the producers to reduce their activities and reinforce vulnerable structures. Sierra Club also sought the establishment of an earthquake monitoring and prediction center. The producers sought to dismiss the complaint. The producers argued that the court should decline to exercise jurisdiction because the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (the commission) had already taken action in response to the increased seismic activity. The commission had adopted a system, recommended by federal authorities, for managing the injection of wastewater. The commission had also adopted rules requiring daily activity recordings and integrity tests. Additionally, the governor had formed a council to coordinate and share information across the state to develop solutions for seismic activity. The commission issued directives that reduced the use of waste-injection wells and also limited the future growth of such wells. The case was brought before a federal court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Friot, J.)

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