Pa. Fracking Decision Leaves Trespass Question Open

Law360 (February 10, 2020, 4:34 PM EST) -- For over a century, Pennsylvania courts have held that oil and gas belongs to whoever extracts it out of the ground first, with one limitation: The driller cannot physically invade another person’s land.

This concept is referred to as the "rule of capture." The rule allows drillers to extract oil or gas from under adjoining lands without the threat of a trespass action.

In 2018, however, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held in Briggs v. Southwestern Energy Production Co. that the rule of capture does not apply to wells that are hydraulically fractured.[1] The intermediate appellate court held that hydraulic fracturing:

may constitute an...

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