Delaware Riverkeeper Seeks to Intervene in DRBC Fracking Lawsuit

THE Delaware Riverkeeper, a radical anti-fossil fuel organization headed by Maya van Rossum who presumes she is the only voice that speaks for the Delaware River, has filed a motion to intervene (i.e. join) a lawsuit filed against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) by a group of Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers. Riverkeeper accuses PA lawmakers of violating their oath of office with this lawsuit. It’s the opposite. The lawmakers are standing up for the rights of their constituents–land rights stripped away by the DRBC.
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DRBC Frack Ban Heading for Defeat in October Trial

In January MDN told you that after five loooong years, a federal judge in Scranton, PA had finally ruled the Wayne Land and Mineral Group (WLMG) v. Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) lawsuit will go to trial this year (see Judge Rules Wayne Landowner Lawsuit re DRBC Frack Ban Continues). We’ve since learned the trial is set to begin in October. Andrew Makuth, ace reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, chronicles the journey of this lawsuit and what it means for landowners and environmentalists.
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PA Senators Sue DRBC for “Taking” Property re Frack Ban

In a brilliant move aimed at boxing in the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), two northeastern Pennsylvania State Senators–Gene Yaw and Lisa Baker–along with members of the PA Senate Republican Caucus, filed a lawsuit yesterday against the DRBC, accusing the quasi-governmental agency of “taking” the property rights of PA residents without just compensation under the law.
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Judge Rules Wayne Landowner Lawsuit re DRBC Frack Ban Continues

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Robert D. Mariani issued a couple of rulings in the Wayne Land and Mineral Group (WLMG) v. Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) lawsuit that should encourage landowners in eastern PA whose property rights have been “taken” by the DRBC. The DRBC has prevented landowners in areas like Wayne and Pike counties from drilling for shale gas under their land for more than a decade.

NOTE: Our good friend Tom Shepstone has written an important post on this development on his Natural Gas Now website: DRBC Lawsuit Finally Going to Trial After Five Years! We encourage you to click and read it.
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DRBC has “Taken” $1.3B from Northern Wayne County, PA Landowners

On Monday MDN told you about a cool new website called LandGate that offers instant valuations for oil and gas rights sitting under a property, along with the location of wells drilled nearby (see Free Website Helps M-U Landowners Estimate O&G Values). MDN friend Tom Shepstone (Natural Gas Now) built on our discovery by using LandGate to calculate the value that has been destroyed by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and their ongoing “temporary” ban on fracking in northern Wayne County, PA.
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Big Green Scared – NRDC Tries to Horn in on DRBC Fracking Lawsuit

In May 2016, a landowner in Wayne County, PA filed a lawsuit against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) asking a judge to declare that the DRBC does not have jurisdiction to prevent the construction of a natural gas well (see Wayne County, PA Landowner Sues DRBC Over Fracking Ban). The case bounced around various courts and is now back in federal court in Scranton, PA where a judge will decide whether shale drilling is a “project” under regulations that govern the DRBC. Anti-fossil fuel haters at the National Resources Defense Council (aka Rockefeller family) are terrified the judge is about to rule against the DRBC (and them), and so has filed a friend of the court brief to try and snow (or intimidate) the judge.
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3 PA Senators Still Trying to Join Lawsuit Against DRBC Frack Ban

In May 2016, a landowner in Wayne County, PA filed a lawsuit against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) asking a judge to declare that the DRBC does not have jurisdiction to prevent construction of a natural gas well (see Wayne County, PA Landowner Sues DRBC Over Fracking Ban). Last fall three PA State Senators asked the court to allow them to join the lawsuit on the side of the landowner (see 3 PA Senators Seek to Join Lawsuit Against DRBC Frack Ban). In May the judge turned them down. The three brave Senators have filed an appeal of that denial.
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DRBC Executive Director Tambini Loses His Cool at UDC Meeting

We had high hopes for Steve Tambini, former vice president of operations at Pennsylvania American Water, when he was appointed Executive Director of the Delaware River Basin Commission in 2014 (see DRBC Selects Steve Tambini as New Leader, Enviro Groups Unsure). After all, DRBC’s previous director, Carol Collier, was nothing more than a shill for radical Big Green groups during her 15-year tenure. Just about anyone would be better. Unfortunately our hopes for Tambini have been dashed over the past five years since he took over.
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Crawford & Wayne (PA) Get PIPE Grants to Expand NatGas Service

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf continues to take credit for Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE), a program he didn’t create, didn’t support, and didn’t even sign into law. Typical. Even so, the program continues to benefit local rural communities throughout the state. The latest two communities to benefit are Crawford and Wayne counties where grants of $300,000 and $376,392 respectively have just been announced by Wolf’s Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to expand local natgas delivery pipes.
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PA Gov. Wolf Supports “Full” Fracking Ban in Delaware River Basin

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, arguably PA’s worst governor in a generation, has just thrown in his lot with uber-leftists Andrew Cuomo (governor of NY), Phil Murphy (governor of NJ), and John Carney (governor of DE) to support a total, permanent ban on fracking *and a ban on any drilling-related activities* in the Delaware River Basin (DRB). Put another way, Wolf has just turned his back on thousands of PA citizens living in the Wayne and Pike counties (in PA) who could be, right now, benefiting from Marcellus Shale drilling.
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PA House Advances Bill Against DRBC Frack Ban – 1st Vote Next Week

In February Pennsylvania State Sen. Lisa Baker introduced Senate Bill (SB) 305, which would make a proposed Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) frack ban officially a government “taking” under eminent domain (see PA Bill Requires Landowner Compensation if DRBC Bans Fracking). A similar bill has been introduced in the PA House. Yesterday the House held a committee hearing on House Bill (HB) 827, and our buddy Tom Shepstone was one of the star experts who testified.
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PA Bill Requires Landowner Compensation if DRBC Bans Fracking

State Sen. Lisa Baker

Three more cheers for Pennsylvania State Senator Lisa Baker (Republican from Luzerne County). Rather than wait for the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to move forward with adopting a threatened ban on fracking that includes several counties in PA, Baker isn’t waiting. She’s taking a different approach to defeating a proposed DRBC frack ban. Her approach is to bankrupt the DRBC if they decide to move forward with it.
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Going on Offense: Exposing PA Anti Group & Their Funders

Our friend Tom Shepstone (Natural Gas Now) is a dangerous man…dangerous to anti-fossil fuelers. He’s dangerous because he’s smart, and because he has the unique ability to expose “the man behind the curtain” pulling the levers and pushing the buttons with respect to fracktivism and those who fund it. Tom has done it again, this time exposing the fraudsters behind a Pennsylvania group called Damascus Citizens for Sustainability.
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3 PA Senators Seek to Join Lawsuit Against DRBC Frack Ban

A bit of encouraging news to share with respect to a lawsuit against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and their attempt to ban fracking and shale drilling in the basin. In May 2016, a landowner in Wayne County, PA filed a lawsuit against the DRBC asking a judge to declare that the DRBC does not have jurisdiction to prevent construction of a natural gas well (see Wayne County, PA Landowner Sues DRBC Over Fracking Ban). The Wayne landowner argued in U.S. District Court that oil and gas wells, under the DRBC’s charter, do not constitute a “project” that is regulated by the DRBC and therefore are exempt from oversight from the DRBC. The way the DRBC so broadly reinterprets the word “project” in the original charter, it allows them to regulate anything and everything. The case was eventually appealed to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In July that court sent the case back down to U.S. District Court with orders to more fully consider what is, and what is not, meant by the word “project” in the original DRBC charter (see Major Federal Court Decision Opens Door to Stop DRBC Frack Ban). It was a MAJOR victory for the landowner, and a MAJOR defeat of the DRBC. No, the case isn’t over yet, but now the full case will get heard. The legal arguments in the case clearly support the landowner. The new news is that three prominent Pennsylvania State Senators, Lisa Baker, Gene Yaw and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, have all filed to join the lawsuit as “intervenors” on behalf of the Wayne landowner. They want to add their two cents, on behalf of the Commonwealth of PA, to influence the court to rule in favor of the landowner (overruling the DRBC). What’s noteworthy about this development is that long-time senators typically don’t make risky political moves. The senators are either confident that the landowner will win the case, or if he loses, that public sentiment is with the landowner (a political win). The senators’ participation has the DRBC even more nervous, as evidenced by statements from their mouthpiece THE Delaware Riverkeeper’s Maya van Rossum…
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Major Federal Court Decision Opens Door to Stop DRBC Frack Ban

A lawsuit that began in 2016 is finally bearing fruit, and may lead to blocking efforts by the rogue Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to block fracking in Wayne and Pike counties in Pennsylvania. In May 2016, a landowner in Wayne County filed a lawsuit against the DRBC asking a judge to declare that the DRBC does not have jurisdiction to prevent construction of a natural gas well (see Wayne County, PA Landowner Sues DRBC Over Fracking Ban). The Wayne landowner argued in U.S. District Court that oil and gas wells, under the DRBC’s charter, do not constitute a “project” that is regulated by the DRBC and therefore are exempt from oversight from the DRBC. The way the DRBC so broadly reinterprets the word “project” in the original charter, it allows them to regulate anything and everything. In March 2016, MDN reported that U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani ruled against the landowner (see Judge Tosses Wayne County, PA Landowner Lawsuit Against DRBC). At first blush it seemed like a setback for landowners in Wayne and Pike counties. But looks can be deceiving. As we pointed out, when 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. Which is precisely where the case ended up. Last November oral arguments were heard in the appealed case. The DRBC’s lawyer conveniently had a couple of fainting spells that delayed the proceedings when tough questioning didn’t go his way (see DRBC Lawyer Nearly Faints 2nd Time When Questioned by Fed Judges). On Tuesday, July 3rd, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, sending the case back down to U.S. District Court with orders to more fully consider what is, and what is not, meant by the word “project” in the original DRBC charter. Interpretation: This is a MAJOR victory for the landowner, and a MAJOR defeat of the DRBC. No, the case isn’t over yet, but now the full case will get heard. The legal arguments in the case clearly support the landowner. The rogue DRBC is very nervous, as evidenced by reaction from their proxy mouthpiece, THE Delaware Riverkeeper…
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Two More $1M NatGas Pipeline Grants Coming Courtesy PA Taxpayers

PA Gov. Tom Wolf

It’s Christmas in Pennsylvania. Last week PA Gov. Tom Wolf and his Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED) announced the award of nine grants “to promote energy efficiency and spur economic development.” Among those nine grants are two grants for new natural gas pipelines. Two $1 million grants were awarded from the PA Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE), one to flow gas to a wax manufacturer in McKean County that wants to switch from using coal to natgas, and the other to serve over 500 new residential and business gas customers in Wayne County. Other grants in the list of nine include $965,000 for a 2000 kW CHP (combined heat and power) system for the Villanova University campus, and $1.2 million for a 2,000 kW CHP system for the Bayer Healthcare facility in Myerstown. In general we’re not in favor of corporate welfare, which is what this is (let’s just be honest). However, this is a pretty mild case of it. We can think of worse ways to blow taxpayer’s money. Essentially these relatively small investments keep more PA gas in PA by running pipelines to residents and businesses that will use it, and by helping fund power plants that will use it. Think of the grants as seed money to encourage more PA gas staying in PA, generating jobs at the same time…
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