The Latest in Energy

Energy Legislation

PennFuture joined Clean Air Council, Mountain Watershed Association, and Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services in filing an amicus brief in Commonwealth Court to support Rockhill Township's position that the Environmental Hearing Board (Board) erred as a matter of law in misconstruing precedent of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in concluding the Board lacked jurisdiction over the appeal.  This error has broad and likely unintended implications in federalizing control over state regulatory decisions and the de novo review framework for appeal of Departmental decisions.

PennFuture joined environmental nonprofits in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit raising concerns with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's use of "tolling orders" that nominally grant rehearings "for the limimited purpose of further consideration." These tolling orders effectively lock requesters out of court.

Earthjustice filed a complaint on behalf of Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, Gasp, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, and Sierra Club, sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for improperly regulating coke ovens – producers of known carcinogens – thus failing to protect communities throughout the country. Over a decade ago, EPA found that carcinogenic emissions from coke ovens destroy air quality and cause devastating health complications, yet plaintiffs in the case argue the agency failed to act to protect nearby communities from this threat.

Energy Policies

Introduced: Rep. Jonathan Fritz (R)
House Resolution urging the Delaware River Basin Commission to suspend consideration of a moratorium on natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin.

More Information:
PennFuture Letter of Opposition (October 2017)

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.
 

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
PennFuture Public Comments (July 2017)

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

Energy Blogs

In the coming days, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is poised to vote on Senate Bill 790, a substantial rollback of environmental protections governing the conventional oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania.
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While an important step, the proposed rulemaking still has some hurdles in the regulatory process before becoming law, but the rule also has some significant shortfalls.
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The fracked gas industry and its proponents excel at spinning false narratives about the health and safety of its operations, and often don’t tell the whole story when faced with facts.
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Energy News

PennFuture is asking the state House of Representatives to oppose Senate Bill 790, which would roll back regulations on the conventional gas industry.
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PennFuture has released the following statement in reaction to a letter released by regional officials that calls for an expansion of the petrochemical industry
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Legislators on Nov. 19 introduced two bills that would limit the governor's authority to join organizations like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
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