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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2 Landowner Groups Merge to Fight DRBC’s Theft of Drilling Rights

Landowners who live in the Delaware River Basin feel betrayed and disenfranchised following the actions of the aggressive, malignant Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC)–a quasi-governmental agency set up to oversee and protect water usage within the Delaware River Basin. The DRBC colors WAY outside the lines of its charter by limiting not just water use, but land use within the basin. The Delaware River and its tributaries supply fresh drinking water for some 14 million people, including New York City. The DRBC, under the pretense of protecting water, issued draft regulations on Nov. 30 that will permanently (!) ban hydraulic fracturing in the basin (see DRBC Drops Permanent Frack Ban Bomb – Public Hearings in January). Residents in Wayne and Pike counties in PA are furious. They could have, long ago, leased their land for drilling had it not been for the DRBC. And a drilling ban isn’t the only way the DRBC is screwing the residents who live within the basin. The agency has become an arm of the Rockefeller/gentry clan who want to make the region their own personal, private playground. Enough is enough. Two different landowner groups in the basin–Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance (NWPOA) and the Upper Delaware River Basin Citizens (UDRBC)–are merging together to fight the DRBC beast. Their philosophy is “better together.” Their mission is righteous and the stakes are critical. We applaud these groups joining together to beat back the tyrannical DRBC…
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Enviros Tell DRBC Not Enough Freak Shows Scheduled on Frack Ban

In September, MDN told you that the obsequious members of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) had slavishly obeyed their radical environmental masters by voting to move forward with a permanent ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin (see DRBC Votes Tomorrow on Permanent Frack Ban Resolution). The final ban language/regulation was dropped like a bomb by DRBC staff on Nov. 30 (see DRBC Drops Permanent Frack Ban Bomb – Public Hearings in January). In dropping their bomb, the DRBC said (with no proof) that fracking “poses significant, immediate and long-term risks” to the waters in the basin. Then they declared, by fiat, that “High volume hydraulic fracturing in hydrocarbon bearing rock formations is prohibited within the Delaware River Basin.” However, they also said (in the fine print) that water from the Delaware River Basin can be used by frackers in other locations–which sent antis like THE Delaware Riverkeeper into apoplectic shock. The DRBC is allowing public comment, via written communication, through Feb. 28. They will also hold four public hearings (i.e. freak shows) to allow antis to parade before the microphones and make jerks of themselves. We know what we’re speaking about–we’ve been to a number of similar hearings and can attest, first-hand, to how they behave during these hearings. Even though the public has a full 90 days to provide written comment, and four hearings in which to sound off–that’s still not enough for the nutters. They want the deadline for public comment extended and more freak shows to be added to the lineup…
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FERC Clears TGP Orion Expansion to Begin Service to New England

In October 2015, Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) filed their official, full application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking approval for their Orion Project (see Tennessee Gas Pipeline Files PA Orion Project with FERC). The $109 million project consists of 13 miles of new “looping” pipeline in Pike and Wayne counties, Pennsylvania. The project will boost capacity on the TGP by another 135 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d), allowing TGP to pump more yummy Marcellus Shale gas to Mid-Atlantic and New England states. FERC gave final approval for the project in February of this year (see TGP Orion Project in NEPA Gets Final Approval by FERC). In March, Big Green group THE Delaware Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third District requesting the court overturn a Clean Water Act permit granted to the project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In August, the Third Circuit rejected Riverkeeper’s request in a humiliating defeat (see Dela. Riverkeeper Loses Fed. Court Case Against NEPA Pipeline). According to the original plan, the TGP Orion upgrade will be complete and in-service by June 2018. December 2017 is certainly “by June 2018” and that’s a good thing, because Orion is now done and FERC has just given TGP the green light to start it up…
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DRBC Drops Permanent Frack Ban Bomb – Public Hearings in January

We knew it was coming. We told you back in September that the obsequious members of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) will slavishly obey their radical environmental masters by voting to move forward with a permanent ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin (see DRBC Votes Tomorrow on Permanent Frack Ban Resolution). The final ban language/regulation was dropped like a bomb yesterday by the DRBC. In dropping their bomb, the DRBC said (with no proof) that fracking “poses significant, immediate and long-term risks” to the waters in the basin. Then they declared, by fiat, that “High volume hydraulic fracturing in hydrocarbon bearing rock formations is prohibited within the Delaware River Basin.” Of course the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit may have another take on that (see DRBC Lawyer Nearly Faints 2nd Time When Questioned by Fed Judges). What happens now? Aside from the lawsuit cooking in the background to challenge the DRBC’s jurisdiction over fracking, the bureaucrats will hold a series of four public hearings in two locations–i.e. circus freak shows–where THE Delaware Riverkeeper herself and others will make pompous jerks of themselves and try to drown out landowners who want to express opposition to this injustice. Below we have a copy of the proposed regulation the lawless DRBC intends to adopt by fiat early next year, the list of public hearings (pro-gas needs to show up in force!), and reaction from antis and the industry…
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DRBC Lawyer Nearly Faints 2nd Time When Questioned by Fed Judges

This is getting pretty old, fast. Two weeks ago MDN told you about a lawsuit that finally got it’s day in court–a case brought by a Wayne County, PA landowner against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) over its ongoing, 10+ year ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin (see DRBC Attorney Faints in Federal Court During Questioning). Under “heaving questioning” the attorney for the DRBC fainted in the court room, ending the session that day. Both sides were back in court yesterday to finish what began two weeks ago, and the judges once again turned up the heat on the DRBC attorney–and he almost fainted again, having to sit down (delaying proceedings for a time). Every time this lawyer gets tough questions that he doesn’t like, he pulls this fainting routine. Is it legitimate? Does he have a “condition?” Frankly, we don’t care. His “condition”–if that’s what it is–keeps blocking justice. If he’s not up to the job, remove him. Get someone who can handle the pressure. At least the session yesterday finished. Oral arguments are now done. MDN friend Tom Shepstone listened to a recording of the session and filed a fantastic report, recounting the back and forth–and how the DRBC’s defense collapsed (metaphorically) under the sharp eye of the judges doing the questioning. The DRBC and its shill leader Steve Tambini (a MAJOR disappointment since he was appointed in 2014) were exposed yesterday as the obstructionists they are…
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