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Energy Legislation

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.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued a decision on June 1, 2018 in PennFuture’s appeal of the 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 and a reply brief on September 19, 2016, presented oral arguments on March 8, 2017.

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. 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

The burgeoning petrochemical movement is in its infancy in western Pennsylvania, but we’ve already experienced significant detriments to both the environment and private property because of fracking and pipeline accidents.
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Energy News