Seyfarth Partner Andrew H. Perellis is quoted in this Forbes Legal News article today, Sierra Club’s Legal Theory In Frackquake Case Draws ‘Star Trek’ Comparison (March 31, 2016).
The article concerns a complaint filed on Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Sierra Club v. Chesapeake Operating LLC, Devon Energy Production Co. LP, and New Dominion, LLC. The complaint was filed under the citizen suit provision of the Solid Waste Disposal Act, amended as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. § 6901, et seq. (RCRA).
In particular, the complaint seeks to allege an imminent and substantial endangerment for which injunctive relief is available under RCRA, Section 7002(a)(1)(B). However, the alleged harm is not associated with threaten exposure to the waste water but instead because the disposal of the water under pressure is alleged to increase the frequency and severity of earthquakes in the area.
Perellis, as quoted in the Forbes article, says the lawsuit is the equivalent of using RCRA to sue “a company that warehouses hazardous chemicals over a danger arising from an increase in truck traffic to and from the facility.” Calling the case “the ‘Star Trek’ of lawsuits,” Perellis said, “they are boldly taking RCRA where it has never gone before.”