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Energy Legislation

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted PennFuture’s petition for review of an appellate court decision allowing high volume hydraulic gas drilling in areas zoned as “residential-agricultural.” PennFuture submitted its opening brief to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on August 1, 2016, a reply brief on September 19, 2016, and awaits oral arguments.

In 2014, PennFuture secured a victory in Pennsylvania’s Court of Common Pleas on behalf of its clients, four residents of Fairfield Township, Lycoming County, appealing a conditional use permit issued by Township Supervisors for high volume gas drilling operation in a district zoned "residential-agricultural.” The drilling company, Inflection Energy, LLC, and the Township appealed the lower court’s decision. The Commonwealth Court reversed the lower court’s decision finding the proposed gas development was similar to and compatible with other uses in the residential-agricultural zoned area.

PennFuture challenged the validity of Mt. Pleasant Township’s ordinance allowing gas drilling in all zoned districts, including a proposed natural gas drilling site in close proximity to a school.

Energy Policies

Introduced: Rep. Matt Gabler (R)
Changes Pennsylvania's coal mining rules for temporary cessation to allow for unlimited cessation of mining activity without DEp approval, which is currently required for cessations greater than 90 days, as long as the mining company renews permits and the site is "effectively secured." This limits opportunities to hold mining operators accountable and is of particular concern due to DEP budget and staffing constraints.

Introduced: Sen. Joseph Scarnati (R)
Amends the Clean Streams Law to assume that coal pollution from mining is not considered pollution as long as the coal company says it can be mitigated.

More Information:
Center for Coal Field Justice Bill Analysis
Letter of Opposition (May 2017)

Agency: DEP
Proposed Pennsylvania mitigation strategy for investing the state share ($118 million) of the Volkswagon (VW) Settlement. VW was found to illegally exceeding air pollution limits on its diesel automobiles. As a result, VW settled the case by, in part, providing a multi-billion payment to states whose air quality was adversly impacted. Pennsylvania's draft mitigation plan aims to invest its share in reducing NOx from the transportation sector.

More Information:
Pennsylvania Bulletin Notice
Draft Mitigation Plan
Public Comment Page

Agency: DEP
Proposed updates to General Plan Approval and General Operating Permit for unconventional natural gas well site operations and remote pigging stations (GP-5A) as well as permit for natural gas compressor stations, processing plants, and transmission stations (GP-5). The update includes best available technologies aimed at reducing methane leaks at new unconventional gas well pads, compressor stations, and processing facilities. Permit updates also includes requiring increased use of leak detection and repair (LDAR) processes.

More Information:
Pennsylvania Bulletin Notice
Proposed Changes
Public Comment Page
Letter: Rep. Daryl Metcalfe
Letter: Sen. Gene Yaw and Senate Leaders
DEP Response Letter to Senate Letter
PennFuture Response Letter to Rep. Metcalfe

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