EnergyWire Thursday reported Senators Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) and Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) filed a brief with U.S. District Court asking to join the landowners’ lawsuit challenging the moratorium on oil and gas drilling imposed by the Delaware River Basin Commission in 2010.
"Notwithstanding this comprehensive statutory and regulatory framework duly enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, DRBC, through its interpretation of [the interstate compact], has taken upon itself the role of arbiter of who may construct well pads or related facilities and engage in related drilling activities in those parts of Pennsylvania that are contained in the Basin," the Senators' brief says.
"Indeed, pursuant to this authority, the General Assembly has enacted a careful legislative plan that regulates shale drilling activities," the filing says. "This plan will be rendered meaningless if DRBC can prohibit landowners in the Basin from engaging in any activities related to such drilling. Only the Pennsylvania General Assembly has the authority to regulate this activity."
Maya K. van Rossum, Delaware RiverKeeper, said, “It’s inappropriate and disturbing for legislators to be stepping in for a landowners’ group trying to force drilling upon communities in the Delaware Watershed. It’s another example of legislators siding with the industry against the people.“This is also about undermining the authority of the Delaware River Basin Commission to protect water quality in the watershed,” said van Rossum.
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