Landowner Fight to Overturn DRBC Frack Ban Goes to Fed Court Today

The lawsuit filed by a Wayne County, PA landowner against the egregious overreach by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to stall/delay/block any shale drilling within the Basin takes a very important step forward today. It’s a step feared by the DRBC and radical groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper–because this case has the real potential to neuter the DRBC’s claim it can block shale drilling in the watershed. In March, MDN reported that U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani ruled against the Wayne Land and Mineral Group in a lawsuit that challenged the right of the DRBC to stop fracking in the Delaware River Basin (see Judge Tosses Wayne County, PA Landowner Lawsuit Against DRBC). At first blush it may seem like a setback for landowners in Wayne and Pike Counties (in PA) who have been denied the right to lease and allow drilling under their land for the past 10+ years. But looks can be deceiving. As we pointed out in our article, if you read the judge’s decision, he harpoons all of the DRBC’s legal arguments, but in the end rules against the landowner. Why? Because the judge wanted to send the case to a higher court for an ultimate decision–the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. In June, the Wayne Land and Mineral Group filed their brief with the 3rd Circuit (see Wayne County Landowner Files Brief in Case Against DRBC Frack Ban). Today, oral arguments will be heard in what we sincerely hope is the beginning of the end of the DRBC’s illegal frack ban…

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