PA Court Rejects Request to Block Royalties Funding DCNR Operations

Last June, radical anti-drillers from the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) won a case at the PA Supreme Court by the skin of their teeth (see PA Supreme Court Hands Antis Partial Victory re State Land Drilling). The case dealt with the narrow issue of how PA can spend revenue raised from allowing drilling for oil and gas under state-owned land. A divided court ruled that money from royalties (not lease signing bonuses) must be used only for “environmental” purposes. The Supremes sent the case back down to the lower Commonwealth Court to settle some of the still-unsettled issues. PEDF tried to fleece Commonwealth Court into disallowing lease bonus payments and royalties from being used to pay the operating expenses of the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). You read that right. The antis wanted to gut the funding that pays the people in the department to do their jobs! PEDF wanted lease and royalty money to be used exclusively for Big Green causes. Earlier this week Commonwealth Court told PEDF no, they will not address the issue of funding the salaries and operating expenses of DCNR. The only decision they will make, per their instructions from the lofty Supremes, is whether or not lease bonus payments must also be used for the same things royalty payments are used for–whatever those “same things” happen to be (operating expenses or not). In other words, if PEDF wants to gut DCNR, they will have to go back to the Supremes to do it…

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