PA Big Green Supports Lawsuit to Gut FERC re Pipe Approvals

The sleaziest of Pennsylvania’s Big Green groups–THE Delaware Riverkeeper and PennFuture–have filed a “friend of the court” (amicus) brief in a federal lawsuit hoping they can help gut the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by denying FERC the only way the agency has of combating these sleazy groups–something called a tolling order.
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9th Circuit Throws Out Fossil Fuel Lawsuit by Brainwashed Kids

Nearly a year ago a lawsuit brought by greedy lawyers (ab)using a group of 21 children against the United States for not doing enough about mythical man-made global warming began in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (see Global Warming Lawsuit by Brainwashed Kids Begins at 9th Circus). After a number of twists and turns, including a refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, last Friday the judges of the Ninth Circuit tossed out the bogus lawsuit–something that should have been done years ago.
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Bloomberg Lawyers in State AG Offices “Political Mercenaries”

In December 2017 MDN told you about the bastardization of our justice system by Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg funneled money to New York University (NYU) School of Law which in turn pays to hire radical (Democrat) attorneys to work inside the offices of the attorneys general in 10 different states, including Pennsylvania (see NYU Buying Frivolous Enviro Lawsuits by Hiring Lawyers for State AGs). The aim of hiring these lawyers to work alongside AGs is to launch lawsuits to “protect” the environment–i.e. sue fossil fuel companies. It is a gross perversion of our justice system and MUST STOP.
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3rd Lawsuit Filed Against Energy Transfer re Mariner Corruption

MDN previously told you about unconfirmed rumors that the FBI is investigating the PA Gov. Tom Wolf administration over how permits came to be issued for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project (see FBI Investigates Wolf Admin for Corruption re ME Pipe Permits). The allegation/rumor is that Wolf and/or members of his staff pressured the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to approve permits for the pipeline project in return for something (money or something else). Two different law firms seized on the rumor as reason enough to launch speculative class action lawsuits for shareholders, accusing Energy Transfer (the builder) of corruption (see 2nd Class Action Lawsuit Against ET/Sunoco re Mariner East Pipe). A third such lawsuit was filed last week–this one by a public employee retirement fund.
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PA Superior Court Rules Landowner Can’t Nix Lease for Shut-ins

A recently decided court case, while not precendential (doesn’t apply to anyone else other than the landowners/drillers in this case), is still instructive. This story begins when the Wilson family in Armstrong County, PA (western part of the state) leased three different tracts of land totaling 473 acres to Synder Brothers in 2003 for vertical drilling.
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NY AG Gives Up on Trying to Shake Down Exxon After Court Decision

As we reported in December, New York Attorney General Tish James and her highly-paid associates were thoroughly, completely, 100% humiliated in court when their case against Exxon Mobil accusing the company of screwing shareholders by keeping secret knowledge they are toasting Mom Earth, is itself toast (see Judge Finds Exxon Not Guilty in Fraud Case – NY AG Humiliated). Exxon is being sued by other states, including Massachusetts, for the same thing. Those cases are also close to collapse. The good news is that Tish has had enough humiliation–she won’t appeal the Exxon case to a higher court. That is, NY has lost, Exxon has won. There is still justice in the wacky world of New York State–who knew?
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4th Circus Clown Judges Nix Va. Compressor Permit for AC Pipe

The Lorax Judge strikes again. One year ago the Virginia State Air Quality Board, at the prompting of Gov. Ralph Northam, voted to approve a low-emissions compressor station for Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), to be built about an hour outside of Richmond, Virginia (see Va. State Agency Approves Atlantic Coast Pipe Compressor Stn). Big Green groups with deep pockets litigated that decision, making the disgusting claim that the compressor station is “racist” because it will be built in a community founded by emancipated slaves following the Civil War.
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PA Landowner Awarded Piddly for Legal Fees in Fighting ME Pipe

Huntington County, PA landowners Stephen and Ellen Gerhart have opposed the Mariner East pipeline project across their land from day one. They (and their daughter) have a long history of activism against the project. The Gerharts sued the builder, Sunoco Logistics Partners, in a bid to first block the pipeline, and later “restore” their property after it was built. In the end the Gerharts won a single, tiny concession–forcing Sunoco to recreate a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) on their property–all of 0.066 acres (meaning less than 1/10th of an acre–about the size of a big mud puddle). The Gerharts legal bills over the past several years have added up to $266,000. The attorneys asked the PA Environmental Hearing Board, a special court that hears appeals of DEP decisions, to make Sunoco and the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) pay the bill. How much did they get?
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Virginia Landowners Sue to Emasculate FERC in Bid to Block MVP

In a lawsuit filed last week, three couples who own land along the route of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in Virginia, who don’t want the pipeline crossing their land, are trying to overturn federal approval of MVP by emasculating the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This is not the first time someone has tried to emasculate FERC using MVP.
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LOLA Energy Files 2nd Lawsuit Against EQT for Trespass in SWPA

Last July MDN broke the news that LOLA Energy had filed a lawsuit in Greene County, PA against EQT for allegedly drilling shale wells under property EQT formerly leased, but property for which the leases had lapsed and were subsequently scooped up by LOLA Energy II (see LOLA Energy Sues EQT for Trespass, Drilling Wells Under LOLA Land). LOLA said they are the owners of those leases now and that EQT has drilled under some of their properties. In another MDN exclusive, LOLA has just filed a second lawsuit in Greene County against EQT for the same thing: trespassing on LOLA-leased property.
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Ohio Court: Utica Frackers Owed Sales Tax Refunds for Equipment

Good news for oilfield services companies that offer fracking services in the Ohio Utica Shale. The Tenth District Ohio Court of Appeals recently ruled that an amendment to an existing law granting tax exempt status for oil and gas equipment not only applies to equipment purchased by frackers from now on, it also applies to equipment they’ve purchased (and paid sales tax on) going back in time too. In other words, some frackers are owed refunds on the sales tax they’ve paid in the past.
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OH Supreme Court Keeps Door Open to Reverse $1B Nuke Bailout

The Ohio Supreme Court, on Christmas Eve, threw a lifeline to an effort to overturn an Ohio law that provides corporate welfare in the form of $1 billion of ratepayer (taxpayer) money to FirstEnergy (which recently changed its name to Harbor Energy). The Ohio law provides the funds to FirstEnergy so they can keep two economically failing nuclear power plants up and running, giving the plants an unfair advantage over gas-fired plants that don’t receive corporate welfare.
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Minuteman’s 5-Year Battle for Justice Against Former PA AG

One of the companies in the Marcellus industry targeted for extinction by Pennsylvania’s former Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, was Minuteman Environmental Services (see PA’s Anti-Drilling AG Charges Minuteman with Enviro Crimes). Kane filed charges against the company in 2014, charges that were later dropped, but in the meantime she forced the company into bankruptcy. Since May 2015, the owner of Minuteman has fought back (i.e. sued) to regain his good name and to ensure prosecutorial abuses like what he’s experienced never happen to anyone else. He continues to fight to this day, and the PA AG’s office continues to block his efforts to obtain justice.
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PA Judge Fines Mariner East Pipe $1K for Scaring Homeowner

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes has tried to stop or block or otherwise do damage to the Mariner East pipeline projects for years. Most (all?) of her actions against the project have, in the past, been reversed by a vote of PUC Commissioners (see PA PUC Overrules Lib Judge – Mariner East 1 Returns to Service and PA PUC Allows ME2 Pipeline Work to Restart Near Philly). Will PUC members also overturn Barnes’ latest overreach in fining the Mariner East 1 pipeline $1,000, to be given to a nearby homeowner who doesn’t feel “safe” living 1,000 feet from a pipeline that’s been there all of his life?
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