Litigious Martians Cry Like Babies Over $500K Lawsuit Against Them

My Favorite MartianMDN previously reported on the injustice happening in Bulter County where a handful of anti-drilling parents from the Mars School District, backed by money from Philadelphia from Big Green groups Delaware Riverkeeper and Clean Air Council, filed frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit–denying landowners in Middlesex Township revenue from legally permitted drilling. The actions by these radicalized parents have cost the taxpayers of Middlesex Township over $80,000 in legal fees. So the landowners got together and sued them, to stop this miscarriage of justice (see Shoe Now on Other Foot: Landowners Sue Martian Anti-Drillers). And guess what? The litigious antis started crying like little girls, claiming it’s an abuse and an attempt to stifle free speech (see ACLU Asks County Judge to Toss Lawsuit Against Litigious Martians). Talk about hypocrites! They can sue, but our side can’t. That’s fair in their twisted world. The lawsuit against these radicals continues, and the radicals, with the help of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, continue to complain that everything is OK when they do the suin’, but when they get sued…that’s not so hot. In fact, some of the less-committed radicals are leaving the fight. Turns out they don’t like to get sued…
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PA County Judge Rules Rex Can Begin Drilling First Martian Well

My Favorite MartianAs we have long chronicled, a few anti-drilling parents from the Mars School District (Butler County, far western part of the state), backed by a couple of Big Green groups from the other side of the state (in the Philadelphia area), sued Middlesex Township to stop shale drilling in rural portions of the county. Rex Energy had applied for, was legally permitted for, but still hasn’t been allowed to drill a series of wells some three-fourths of a mile from the Mars School (for background, see our long list of “Martian” stories here). This is the outrage: These very same anti-drillers fought hard to overturn a portion of the 2012 Act 13 law that took zoning of oil and gas out of the hands of local towns and put it in state hands. The zoning portion of Act 13 was overturned by the PA Supreme Court. The antis got what they wanted–except, it seems, they got a little too much of what they wanted. They didn’t factor that in some towns there would be a majority who favor fracking and shale drilling–like in Middlesex. Middlesex ran an extensive series of nine hearings over seven months and eventually adopted zoning ordinances that allow Rex to drill. So the antis sued to stop what they previously sued to achieve. Eventually a group of landowners counter-sued the antis (rightfully so) for denying them access to allow drilling on their own land. That lawsuit is still playing out in the courts. Last Thursday a Butler County judge ruled, once again, that the zoning ordinances adopted by Middlesex are legal and therefore drilling can commence. The antis will appeal the decision and continue to try and block local landowners from legally using their own property as they see fit…
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PA County Court Rules Drilling OK in Ag/Residential District

Since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s horrible decision in the infamous “Robinson” case that ruled local municipalities have the right to regulate oil and gas drilling via local zoning ordinances, there have been several cases where anti-drillers have tried to turn the decision (a decision they earnestly desired) on its head. The “Supreme” justices decided that local towns and cities can control where drilling takes place–although they must reserve at least one zoned district (industrial) where they allow oil and gas drilling (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). What the antis didn’t factor is that there are some local communities with clear-thinking and straight heads on their shoulders–communities that may evaluate a request for drilling and grant an exception to allow it, in oh, say a agricultural/residential area instead of just an industrial area. Perhaps the most famous example of such a case currently being litigated is in Butler County where parents from the Mars School School district along with two Big Green groups from Philadelphia are using the courts to block, since last November, legally permitted and town-approved drilling 3/4 of a mile from the Mars School District (see Rex Drilling Operation Near Mars School Put on Hold). The convoluted argument from antis is, in essence, zoning regulations are not strict enough. That’s not what the Act 13 decision was about. You can’t have your cake AND eat it too. Some towns will decide to allow drilling under their zoning laws that you may not agree with! A similar case has just been decided in Westmoreland County in local county court–and it’s very good news for the Marcellus industry…
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Landowner Lawsuit Against Martians NOT Dismissed After All

My Favorite MartianLast month MDN told you that a county judge in Butler County, PA dismissed a lawsuit brought by a business and group of Middlesex Township landowners against two Big Green groups and four anti-fossil fuel parents from the Mars School District–whom we refer to as the Martians (see Landowners’ Countersuit Against Martians Tossed by Obama Judge). MDN reported the lawsuit was dismissed based on a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story which interviewed one of the lawyers for the Martians, from the anti-American American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU flack said the case was dismissed and we figured he must know how courts work, so we believed it. Our mistake. The unquestioning Post-Gazette reporter also bought the lies pedaled by the ACLU lawyer. What really happened was this: The judge said the case will be dismissed IF a more specific case is not filed within 20 days. Guess what? A new case was filed and (so far) the lawsuit against Delaware Riverkeeper and the Clean Air Council (both of Philly, on the other side of the state) as well as against the Martians, is still alive…
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Landowners’ Countersuit Against Martians Tossed by Obama Judge

miscarriage of justiceNOTE: MDN received a note from a subscriber (and lawyer) who has appeared before Judge Horan several times and believes our characterization is unfair and unwarranted. Indeed, the lawyer says Horan is “certainly not a radical” and has rendered industry-favorable decisions on several occasions. We appreciate it when subscribers take time to point out when our gut reaction, usually spot on, may not be. We want to be fair and not impugn someone’s reputation without cause.

Once again justice has been corrupted in a corrupt Pennsylvania court. It’s A.O.K. for four local residents (Martians) and two tax-exempt non-profit groups from the opposite side of the state to bring lawsuits to stop legal Marcellus drilling in Butler County, PA, costing Butler County taxpayers in excess of $35,000 in legal fees (see ACLU Asks County Judge to Toss Lawsuit Against Litigious Martians). The Martians have children in the Mars School District located 3/4 of a mile away from the proposed Rex Energy drilling site. Never mind other school districts in the state have allowed drilling ON CAMPUS. A dozen landowners in Middlesex and Adams Townships that want drilling to commence counter-sued the Martians and the Big Green groups for holding up a legal process (see Shoe Now on Other Foot: Landowners Sue Martian Anti-Drillers). Butler County Judge Marilyn J. Horan (Democrat) has tossed the landowners’ counter-suit out of the nearest ivory tower window. That’s “justice” for you in Butler County, PA. You may be interested to know that Judge Horan is a radical/activist judge, recently nominated by President Barack Hussein Obama to become a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania–no doubt because of her radical views…
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ACLU Asks County Judge to Toss Lawsuit Against Litigious Martians

My Favorite MartianIt seems anti-drillers love to launch lawsuits, but when the shoe is applied to the other foot and lawsuits are filed against them, they don’t like it so much. Hypocrites. A small group of anti-drilling parents in the Mars School District in Middlesex Township (Butler County), PA–folks we call Martians–want to prevent the legal, legitimate, and now fully permitted right of Rex Energy to drill a few Marcellus Shale wells three-fourths of a mile away from the Mars School. We’ve long chronicled this battle (see MDN’s list of Mars School stories). Four local Middlesex residents used two non-profit, tax-exempt groups from the opposite side of PA, backed by Big Green money–THE Delaware Riverkeeper and the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council–to file a lawsuit against the little town of Middlesex to stop any kind of drilling, a move that has so far cost local taxpayers over $35,000 in legal defense fees (see Dela. RiverKeeper, Clean Air Council Cost Middlesex Residents $35K+). So a group of 12 Middlesex landowners and a business launched their own lawsuit against the two Big Green groups and the four local residents claiming (rightly) that they are being economically harmed (see Shoe Now on Other Foot: Landowners Sue Martian Anti-Drillers). What do the anti-drilling parents and Big Green groups do? They go crying like little girls to the anti-American ACLU for help. The ACLU is asking a Butler County court judge to dismiss the lawsuit against the litigious anti-drillers ’cause they don’t like being sued. Seems it doesn’t feel too good when the shoe is on the other foot…
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ACLU Bullies Threaten Butler County Landowners over Martian Lawsuit

The most anti-American group on the planet that we know of, aside from ISIS/ISIL/Al-Qaeda, is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). So we find it truly rich that the ACLU–always on the lookout to squash anything to do with the American way and freedom and apple pie–has now involved itself in what we loving call “the Martian controversy.” A small group of rabidly anti-drilling (and liberal) parents in the Mars School District in Middlesex Township (Butler County), PA want to prevent the legal, legitimate, and now fully permitted right of Rex Energy to drill a few Marcellus Shale wells three-fourths of a mile away from the Mars School. We’ve long chronicled this battle (see MDN’s list of Mars School stories). Four local residents used two non-profits backed by Big Green money and from the opposite side of Pennsylvania–THE Delaware Riverkeeper and the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council–to file a lawsuit against the little town of Middlesex to stop any kind of drilling, a move that has so far cost local taxpayers over $35,000 in legal defense fees (see Dela. RiverKeeper, Clean Air Council Cost Middlesex Residents $35K+). So a group of 12 Middlesex landowners and a business launched their own lawsuit against the two Big Green groups and the four local residents claiming (rightly) that they are being economically harmed (see Shoe Now on Other Foot: Landowners Sue Martian Anti-Drillers). What do the anti-drilling, liberal, wacko parents and Big Green groups do? They go crying like little girls to the ACLU and now the Big Bully ACLU has ridden into town to tell the 12 landowners and local business they have no right to file a lawsuit! In America!!!…
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Shoe Now on Other Foot: Landowners Sue Martian Anti-Drillers

shoe on the other footIt’s about time. Twelve (12) leaseholders and a real estate developer in Middlesex and Adams Townships, in Butler County, PA (near the Mars School District) have filed a lawsuit against local anti-drillers as well as against THE Delaware Riverkeeper and the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council, suing them for damages because their ongoing frivolous lawsuits have keep the leaseholders from realizing profits from their leased land. And get this, the Martians and Big Green groups being sued are upset, saying their free speech rights are being infringed. Talk about nuts! It’s OK for anti-drillers to launch lawsuit after lawsuit, but as soon as someone pushes back and files a lawsuit against them, they start squealing like little piglets…
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Anti-Drilling Martians Running for School Board in November

My Favorite MartianWho knew that Martians are Democrats? Well, to be honest, we had guessed as much. A small group of Mars School parents who object to fossil fuels have formed a group to oppose Rex Energy’s plan to drill five wells on a pad about 3/4 of a mile from the Mars School in Middlesex Township (Butler County), PA. We’ve chronicled the fight over the past year or so (see our Martian stories here). Three of the parents from the anti-drilling group ran in a primary for the school board. All three, as it turns out, are Democrats. Surprised? No, neither are we. Fracking and drilling is, largely, a partisan issue. The good news is that all three were among the lowest vote-getters in the primary–and one of them flunked off and won’t be on the ballot in November. The other two will run as Dems in a district where Republicans handily outnumber them…
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Deer Lakes School Signs Lease for $3,100/Acre + 18% Royalties

money bagAttention Martian parents from the Mars School District in Middlesex Township (Butler County), PA: In Allegheny County (bordering Butler County on the south) the Deer Lakes School District has just signed a lease to allow shale drilling under school property. Why are you Martians so afraid of shale drilling? (see Martian Arrogance: Town MUST “Protect Us” from Drilling via Zoning) At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Deer Lakes board members voted to lease 110 acres of school property for drilling under (not on) with Huntley & Huntley, Inc. The lease terms are $3,100 per acre in a signing bonus and 18% royalties–yielding a nice check for $341,000 to the school just for signing. Those terms are not quite as rosy as last year’s deal struck by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald who negotiated what turns out to be close to $4,000 per acre (and an 18% royalty) for leasing 1,180 acres in Deer Lakes Park (see Allegheny Co Exec Bests Range on Deer Lakes Park Lease Deal). The county park is literally a stone’s throw from the school…
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Drexel U Study Finds Little Air Pollution Near Marcellus Sites

Real ScienceFinally some real, honest, independent research into the effects of shale drilling on air quality has just been published in the peer reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology. Researchers from Drexel University published the results of air quality research titled “Atmosphere Emission Characterization of Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Development Sites” (full copy below). Rather than focus solely on the release of methane as a global warming concern, the Drexel researchers looked at volatile organic compounds and other pollutants that are a true health concern for people living close to drilling sites and compressor stations. The researchers took measurements using a more accurate instrumentation/methodology than other studies have used and they collected 17 samples at 13 sites including wells, drilling rigs, compressor stations and processing areas. This kind of research is long overdue. What did they find?…
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Martian Arrogance: Town MUST “Protect Us” from Drilling via Zoning

My Favorite MartianThose trouble-making Martians are at it again. Four virulently anti-fossil fuel parents from the Mars School District in Middlesex Township (Butler County), PA are being assisted–we maintain illegally–with support from THE Delaware Riverkeeper (violating its own charter of operating on the other side of the state in the Delaware River Basin) and by the Philadelphia group Clean Air Council. Riverkeeper’s interference in Butler County invalidates their tax-exempt status. Get this, using money from Riverkeeper and the Clean Air Council, the four Middlesex residents are trying to FORCE locally elected leaders in Middlesex to “protect them” from an activity that’s harmless–drilling a shale well 3/4 of a mile away from the local Mars School. It’s the same type of “sue and settle” being used at the national level, being tried locally. Seven selfish PA townships sued the state (and won) to retain the right to zone where drilling can and can’t take place. Now the Martians want to (ab)use the same Act 13 law to force the town to enact zoning that this small group of residents wants regardless of what a majority of town residents want. In other words, there is only one outcome (for them) allowed under Act 13: no drilling. It is an amazingly arrogant position and needs to be vigorously opposed legally, morally, via popular opinion–in any way possible…
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Martian Sighting in Harrisburg – Keep Wells Away from Schools

My Favorite MartianWhere’s HG Wells when you need him? We’ve had another Martian sighting! At yesterday’s PA Dept. of Environmental Protection Oil & Gas Technical Advisory Board (TAB) meeting, Amy Nassif, representing some of the parents from the Mars School district in Butler County, PA, addressed TAB members imploring them to “keep oil and gas well pads away from schools.” Aaah, Ms. Nassif–what about well pads that already exist ON SCHOOL PROPERTY? Like the well pad at the Elk Lake School in Susquehanna County (see Rural NE PA School Nets $1.7M in Royalties from 2 Marcellus Wells). Should they rip out their two wells–wells that haven’t harmed a single student and have brought in millions of dollars for the school?…
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