Under current law governing relations between surface owners and oil and gas operators, to prevail on a claim the surface owner must present evidence that the operator's use of the surface materially interfered with the surface owner's use of the surface of the land. The bill amends this to allow proof that the operator's oil and gas operations harmed the surface owner's use of the surface of the land, caused bodily injury to the surface owner or any person residing on the property of the surface owner, or damaged the surface owner's property.
The bill also holds oil and gas operators strictly liable for their conduct if oil and gas operations, including a hydraulic fracturing treatment or reinjection operation, cause an earthquake that damages property or injures an individual. A plaintiff establishes a prima facie case of causation by showing that: An earthquake has occurred; the earthquake damaged the plaintiff's property or injured the plaintiff; and the oil and gas operations occurred within an area that has been determined to have experienced induced seismicity by a study of induced seismicity that has been independently peer-reviewed. Plaintiffs have 5 years after discovery of the damages or injury to file an action.