Ruger 1 (Anschutz Exploration Corp.)
June 14, 2010
STATE OF NEW YORK
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
NOTICE OF PUBLIC LEGISLATIVE HEARING AND
DEADLINE FOR THE FILING OF NOTICES OF APPEARANCE AND
PETITIONS FOR PARTY STATUS
The Department of Environmental Conservation (the "Department") hereby gives notice, pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") § 23-0901(3)(d), that a public hearing will be held at the times and places stated below to address compulsory integration of interests in the following well:
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Well Operators: Anschutz Exploration Corp., 555 Seventeenth Street, Suite 2505, Denver, CO 80202 (Contact: Mr. Hall B. Koerner, Jr.)
Project Description and Departmental Action Proposed: The Department proposes to issue a compulsory integration order pursuant to ECL 23-0901 integrating mineral interests within the spacing unit for the well listed above. Objections to the draft order for the well were raised at a compulsory integration hearing, which resulted in the referral to the Department's Office of Hearings and Mediation Services for adjudicatory proceedings.
Among the potential issues raised for adjudication are: whether subsequent operations are chargeable to integrated owners when well drilling is commenced prior to issuance of a final integration order; whether integrated owners are entitled to well data and "shallow formation" testing results; and whether other proposed changes to the terms of the proposed integration order should be made. Additional issues may be identified at the issues conferences described below.
Department Staff Position: Staff's position on various issues is summarized as follows:
Commencement of drilling prior to completion of integration process -- Staff's position is that the law does not prohibit drilling prior to completion of the integration process unless the applicant does not control the oil and gas rights in the target formation to be penetrated by the borehole. Staff also takes the position that well operators may not charge uncontrolled owners for subsequent operations until a final integration order is issued.
Well data and testing results -- ECL 23-0901(3)(f) establishes that all operations on a spacing unit covered by an order of integration are deemed to occur upon each separately owned tract by the owner or several owners thereof. The statute further provides that all production allocated to a tract of land in the spacing unit is presumed to be produced from that tract of land as if a well had been drilled. In Department staff's view, integrated participating and non-participating owners have the same rights of ownership to the data as the operator of the well. Therefore, integrated participating and non-participating owners cannot be denied access to the data collected on the unit. Department staff also takes the position that the integrated participating and non-participating owners are entitled to operator-supervised well site access during the collection of data. Although site access must not unreasonably interfere with the conduct of operations nor conflict with the well operator's established safety protocols, participating and non-participating owners are nevertheless entitled to observe operations that are deemed to be conducted on their land.
SEQRA Status: Department staff published a Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program in July 1992 ("GEIS"). On September 1, 1992, Department staff issued a SEQRA (ECL article 8) findings statement concluding that the conduct of compulsory integration hearings pursuant to ECL article 23 would have no significant impact on the environment. Department staff, on behalf of the Department as lead agency, determined that these proceedings are being carried out in conformance with the conditions and thresholds established for compulsory integration hearings in the GEIS and the findings statement. Accordingly, no further action is required under SEQRA (see 6 NYCRR 617.10[d]).
Public Hearing: A legislative hearing to receive unsworn comments about the proposed Ruger 1 integration order will be held at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 35 Arnot Road, Horseheads, New York.
Written comments on the order may also be submitted to the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services, at the address below, in advance of the legislative hearing. All persons, organizations, corporations, or government agencies that may be affected by the outcome are invited to attend the hearing and to submit oral or written comments. Interpreter services will be made available to deaf persons, at no charge, upon written request to the administrative law judge ("ALJ") at least five business days prior to the date of the hearing. The hearing location is reasonably accessible to persons with a mobility impairment.
Please note that the Ruger 1 well targets the Trenton-Black River natural gas formation. The well does not target the Marcellus Shale, nor is the Marcellus Shale proposed for development by the well. At the legislative hearings, the ALJ will limit public comment to the listed well.
Issues Conference: A pre-adjudicatory hearing issues conference for the Ruger 1 well will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 35 Arnot Road, Horseheads, New York. The purpose of the issues conference will be to define, narrow, and resolve, if possible, the proposed issues for adjudication. Any persons requesting party status must appear or be represented at the issues conference in order that all proposed issues may be fully discussed.
Party Status: Pursuant to a ruling of the ALJ (see Matter of Dzybon 1, et al., ALJ Ruling on Procedural Issues, June 6, 2007 [available online at www.dec.ny.gov/hearings/34993.html]), the well operator and all uncontrolled mineral rights owners in the spacing unit are automatic full parties to the adjudicatory hearing with the status of an applicant (see 6 NYCRR 624.5[a]). Uncontrolled owners are mineral interest owners in a spacing unit who have not entered into a voluntary lease or participation agreement with the well operator, including potential participating owners, non-participating owners, and royalty owners (see ECL 23-0901[a]).
All automatic full parties wishing to participate in the issues conference and any subsequent adjudicatory hearing that might be required for the well listed above must file a written notice of appearance. The notice of appearance must fully identify the party together with the name(s) of the person(s) who will act as the party's representative(s), the issues the party seeks to address (whether in support of or in opposition to the proposed integration order), the scope of the issue raised, and the nature of the factual proof, if any, the party intends to present. Please see 6 NYCRR 624.4(c)(1)(i) and (ii) and 624.5(a) for further information on automatic full party status and identification of issues.
All other persons wishing to participate in the issues conference and any adjudicatory hearing that might be required for the well listed above must file a written petition requesting party status, pursuant to 6 NYCRR 624.5(b) (also see 6 NYCRR 624.4[c]). The petition must fully identify the proposed party together with the name(s) of the person(s) who will act as the proposed party's representative(s), the proposed party's interest in the proceeding, any interest relating to the statutes administered by the Department relevant to the proposed action, whether the request is for full party status or amicus status, and the precise grounds for opposing or supporting the proposed integration order. Mere opposition to the proposed integration order is not a sufficient basis to be granted party status. Please see 6 NYCRR 624.4 and 624.5 for further information on party status and identification of issues.
Petitions for full party status must demonstrate that substantive and significant issues exist concerning the proposed integration order. Please see 6 NYCRR 624.4 and 624.5 for further information about requesting full party status and identifying issues for adjudication.
All notices of appearance and all petitions requesting full party or amicus status to participate in the issues conference and any subsequent adjudicatory hearing for the well listed above must be received at the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services at the following address no later than 4:00 P.M. on Tuesday, July 6, 2010. Telefaxed or emailed copies will be accepted, provided a hard copy is sent by first class mail and postmarked no later than Tuesday, July 6, 2010. Notices of appearance and petitions must be submitted to: James T. McClymonds, Chief Administrative Law Judge, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of Hearings and Mediation Services, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-1550 (Telephone: 518-402-9003).
All persons filing notices of appearance or petitions for party status must also send a copy of their notice or petition at the same time and in the same manner to: Jennifer Maglienti, Esq., Associate Attorney, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Office of the General Counsel, 625 Broadway, 14th Floor, Albany, New York 12233-1500 (Telephone: 518-402-9507). A copy of the notice of appearance or petition must also be sent to all persons on the service list for the well. A copy of the service lists are available from the ALJ or Department staff, or at the location listed under "Document Availability" below.
Document Availability: All filed documents, including the draft integration order for the spacing unit, are available for inspection during normal business hours at New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Elmira Suboffice, 100 N. Main Street, Suite 104, Elmira, New York 14901 (Telephone: 607-732-2214, Attn: Joy Brewer [appointment recommended]), and at the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services at the Albany address above. A copy of 6 NYCRR part 624 may be obtained from the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services at the address above, or online at www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6234.html.
Statutory and Regulatory Provisions: ECL article 1 (General Provisions); article 3, title 3 (General Functions); article 8 (State Environmental Quality Review); article 23 (Mineral Resources); and 6 NYCRR part 550 (Mineral Resources); part 617 (State Environmental Quality Review); and part 624 (Permit Hearing Procedures).
James T. McClymonds
Chief Administrative Law Judge
Albany, New York
June 14, 2010