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The Permian Basin Lawsuit Overview

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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The Permian Basin lawsuit is a complex and important case that has the potential to have a significant impact on the oil and gas industry. As an experienced lawyer with almost a decade of experience, I deeply understand the legal issues involved in this case.

In this article, I will explore the key aspects of the lawsuit, the parties involved, and the case’s potential implications.

Quick Summary

  • The lawsuit alleges a lack of environmental review, violations of the National Environmental Policy Act & Environment Improvement Act 1971, and impacts on public lands/natural habitats.
  • The Permian Basin Lawsuit challenges the Biden administration’s authorization of oil and gas leases in southeast New Mexico.
  • The legal action seeks to hold operators accountable for EPA regulations & increase focus on environmental impact due to increased oil production activity in the area.

What Is The Permian Basin Lawsuit?

Permian basin

The Permian Basin lawsuit is about the environmental impact of gas development in the region. It has the potential to set a precedent for future legal disputes concerning oil and gas permitting and leasing.

“Oil and gas companies are extracting record profits while outsourcing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions to the public.”
Rose Rushing, Attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center

What Is The Permian Basin?

A geographical map of the Permian basinThe Permian Basin is a vast sedimentary basin in western Texas and eastern New Mexico, spanning approximately 250,000 square miles [1]. It is composed of various sedimentary rock layers, making it a prime region for oil and gas production in the United States.

The basin is estimated to possess more than 20 billion barrels of oil and 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, making it one of the country’s most productive oil and gas regions.

In recent years, the Permian Basin has seen significant oil and gas development, leading to increased investment in the oil and gas industry. The Permian Basin’s oil and gas extraction procedure involves drilling wells and utilizing hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas from shale rock formations.

Lawyer discussing legal argumentsThe main legal argument in the Permian Basin lawsuit is that the government did not conduct a comprehensive environmental review of the proposed lease sales, thus violating the National Environmental Policy Act [2].

In addition to this federal law, the lawsuit also brings attention to the Environment Improvement Act, a 1971 amendment to the New Mexico Constitution mandating the protection of the environment from pollution. 

The Act allows for legal action if the state administration and Legislature fail to safeguard the environment, and the Western Environmental Law Center is one of the organizations that may be involved in such legal actions.

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Who Are The Plaintiffs And Defendants?

The plaintiffs and defendants of the Permian Basin lawsuit consist of conservation groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians and New Mexico residents, who the Environmental Integrity Project represents.

On the other hand, the defendant in the lawsuit is the Interior Department, which oversees the leasing and permitting of oil and gas activities in the region.

The Role of Environmental Groups

Two people discussing while using a laptopEnvironmental groups play a crucial role in the Permian Basin lawsuit, as they are among the plaintiffs challenging the region’s oil and gas leasing activities.

The lawsuit’s outcome could have substantial consequences for these groups, as it could establish a pattern for forthcoming legal disputes related to oil and gas permitting and leasing.

By spearheading this legal action, environmental groups aim to protect the environment and ensure that oil and gas companies and the entire oil and gas industry operate within the bounds of environmental laws and regulations.

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The Potential Implications Of The Lawsuit

The possible consequences of the Permian Basin lawsuit are twofold. First, oil and gas operators in the area may be subject to penalties for breaching air regulations identified by the EPA in 2020, which could be related to oil and gas pollution.

Second, the lawsuit may draw attention to the environmental impact of the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin, potentially leading to more stringent regulations and increased oversight of industry activities.

Legal Challenges to Oil and Gas Permitting and Leasing

The legal challenges about oil and gas permitting and leasing encompass violations of environmental laws and regulations, such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and concerns regarding the effect on public lands and natural habitats.

What Is The Average Settlement In The Permian Basin Lawsuit?

Court gavel and some dollar billsThe average settlement in the Permian Basin lawsuit is unknown, as the litigation is still ongoing. However, some of the settlements reached so far have been significant.

For example, in 2021, a group of landowners in the Permian Basin settled with Occidental Petroleum for $400 million. This was one of the largest settlements ever reached in a fracking lawsuit.

The average settlement in the Permian Basin lawsuit will likely be higher than in other fracking lawsuits. This is because the Permian Basin is one of the most active fracking regions in the United States, and several serious environmental problems have been associated with fracking.

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What Is The New Mexico Lawsuit?

The New Mexico lawsuit is a complaint lodged by environmental groups, youth activists, and individuals from New Mexico against the state, alleging that it has failed to adequately consider the impacts of climate change on the environment and public health. 

Why Is There So Much Oil In The Permian Basin?

There is so much oil in the Permian Basin because of the basin’s unique geological attributes, including a substantial sedimentary basin, a significant layer of shale, and a copious number of natural fractures in the rock. 

How Many Companies Are In The Permian Basin?

There are 400 companies in the Permian Basin, showcasing the region’s prominence in the oil and gas industry.

Contact Our Experienced Attorneys For A Free Lawsuit Evaluation

If you or someone you know has been affected by fracking in the Permian Basin, you may be entitled to compensation.

The experienced attorneys at Schmidt & Clark, LLP can help you evaluate your legal options and pursue a lawsuit against the responsible parties.

We have a long track record of success in environmental litigation and are committed to helping our clients get the justice they deserve. We offer a free lawsuit evaluation, so there is no risk in contacting us to learn more about your case.

Contact Schmidt & Clark today to schedule your free consultation and discuss legal options.



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