Attorney for Anti Group CELDF Fined $52K for “Bad Faith”

Tom Linzey, the attorney who founded and runs the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), has just been sanctioned by Federal Judge Susan Paradise Baxter and ordered to pay $52,000 to Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE) for his “bad faith” in continuing to press legal arguments on behalf of Grant Township (Indiana County, PA)–legal arguments that say the people of Grant have rights they actually don’t have. Linzey has continued to claim rights for the citizens of Grant that have no legal basis and have been discredited in court. Not only that, but Judge Baxter also referred the matter to the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court with a request that they review Linzey’s actions with an eye to imposing more punishments against him. We’ve previously reported on the story of two Pennsylvania towns that were either hoodwinked, or perhaps willing led astray, by the radical CELDF into passing (now overturned) bans on fracking and injection wells in their towns–Highland Twp (Elk County) and Grant Twp (Indiana County). The two townships thought they would do an end-run around the state’s authority to issue permits for two injection wells–one in each township, by re-incorporating under so-called home rule charters. The towns essentially declared themselves independent of the state for a variety of matters, including oil and gas permits, which PA state law clearly says is a function of ONLY the state Dept. of Environmental Protection. In March, the DEP issued final permits for the injection wells AND sued each town to get those portions of their home rule charters, dealing with oil and gas, overturned (see PA DEP Issues 2 Wastewater Injection Well Permits, Sues 2 Towns). Both towns eventually backed down (see 2 PA Townships Won’t Enforce “Home Rule” Against Injection Wells). However, in May, Grant’s attorneys (i.e. Linzey) filed a counter-claim against PA asking Commonwealth Court to recognize a sort-of extra-judicial set of rights the town can exercise over top of, or in addition to, state laws–instead of their previous position of trying to replace state laws (see CELDF Continues to Agitate Against Indiana, PA Injection Well). The company building the injection wells, PGE, has been economically harmed by the actions of the towns and attorney Linzey, and sued to recoup costs. This decision in part satisfies that lawsuit. The judge, in very strong language, is punishing Linzey for his continued, intentional abuse of the legal system. We note she is not punishing the towns but rather Linzey…

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