The Latest in Environment

Environment 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 and a reply brief on September 19, 2016, presented oral arguments on March 8, 2017, and awaits a decision.

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.

In 2014, PennFuture brought a citizen suit to enforce the conditions in the Borough of Confluence’s permit to operate a wastewater treatment facility. Confluence was allowing polluted water into the Youghiogheny River known for its high water quality and trout fishing habitat.
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.

Environment 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: Sen. Gene Yaw (R)
Surgical change to Pennsylvanias Sewage Facilities Act (Act 537) to allow for on-lot alternative sewage systems in municipal sewage planning. Currently, Act 537 is interpreted as not allowing alternative systems in site planning, but can be installed once the site is established.

Agency: DEP
Development of Pennsylvania's Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIPIII) to describe pollution reduction programs and goals in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed counties through 2025.

More Information:
Pennsylvania Bulletin Notice
Public Comment Page
Choose Clean Water Coalition Public Comments (July 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
PennFuture Public Comments (July 2017)

Environment Blog Posts

PennFuture participated in a press conference highlighting the environmental impacts of constructing a pipeline.
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PennFuture's legal team is representing a group determined to protect land from proposed new power lines from Duquesne Light.
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One perspective from an East End resident on air pollution problems in Pittsburgh.
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Environment News