Judge Tosses Wayne County, PA Landowner Lawsuit Against DRBC

In May 2016 a landowner in Wayne County, PA–in the Delaware River Basin–filed a lawsuit against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) asking a judge to declare the DRBC does not have jurisdiction to prevent construction of a natural gas well (see Wayne County, PA Landowner Sues DRBC Over Fracking Ban). MDN has chronicled, for years, the lawless actions of the DRBC in seizing power it does not have to block shale drilling in essentially two PA counties where measurable quantities of shale gas could be extracted: Wayne County and Pike County. DRBC’s former director, Carol Collier, is a hardened anti-driller who colluded with Josh Fox in making his infamous propaganda film Gasland. Collier is gone and it was thought her replacement, Steve Tambini would bring some order and sense to the organization (see DRBC Selects Steve Tambini as New Leader, Enviro Groups Unsure). Unfortunately that hasn’t happened–so far. The DRBC has blocked drilling since it considered rules for drilling in 2010, when it put a “temporary” ban in place. A Wayne County landowner argued in the lawsuit that oil and gas wells, under the DRBC’s charter, do not constitute a “project” that is regulated by the DRBC and therefore are exempt from oversight from the DRBC. Last week U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani disagreed and ruled against the landowner (copy of his ruling below). However, this may not be “bad news” for landowners and “good news” for the DRBC, as it may first appear, on the surface…

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