Judge “Shocked” MSC Didn’t Present Witnesses @ Chapter 78a Hearing

shockedTwo weeks ago the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) filed a court challenge to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) onerous new Marcellus drilling regulations (see Marc. Shale Coalition Files Lawsuit to Block PA Chapter 78a Regs). The MSC lawsuit, filed in PA Commonwealth Court, does not object to the entire canon of new regulations–only those regulations that are “vague or are unsupported by authorizing legislation.” Just yesterday we brought you an excellent editorial outlining the justified reasons the MSC is pushing back against the DEP’s new regulations (see PA DEP Declares War on Shale Gas – a.k.a. Chapter 78a). On Tuesday and Wednesday a judge conducted hearings in the case, to accept testimony. The DEP put forward Scott Perry, the DEP deputy secretary for oil and gas. Perry spent most of Tuesday outlining the new rules for the judge, along with the (tortured) process that produced the rules. Wednesday was the MSC’s day. However, the MSC only put forward their own lawyers and did not call any witnesses–no drillers to testify how the rules will harm them. On that score, the judge said he was “shocked” that there were no witnesses for the MSC. We’re not lawyers, but a judge offering a comment like that doesn’t, in our book, bode well for the MSC’s case…

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