The Department of Environmental Protection reported Wednesday staff from its Oil and Gas Management and Water Resources Planning offices attended a special meeting of the Delaware River Basin Commission November 29 to discuss draft regulations covering oil and gas development activities in the watershed.
The DEP report said, “All jurisdictions reviewed draft regulatory language for oil and gas management and provided direction to the Commission related to the next steps for regulatory actions.
“DRBC will be providing additional edited language for certain sections of the proposed regulations to the jurisdictions as follow up actions. Commissioners from all the jurisdictions will continue to discuss future actions concerning oil and gas activities in the basin.”
No timeline was given on when the Commission might take action on the oil and gas regulations.
In May and June of 2010, the Delaware River Basin Commission imposed a moratorium on drilling for natural gas exploration or production in the watershed until it could develop regulations covering the activity.
Landowners holding natural gas rights in Wayne County filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Commission in May 2016 alleging a taking of their property rights if the Commission did not lift its moratorium. They did not argue drilling activities should not be regulated.
Three Pennsylvania state Senators-- Scarnati, Baker and Yaw-- attempted to intervene on the side of the landowners in October, however, their request was denied by Federal Court Thursday.
In turning down the request, the judge said, in part, “Once legislation is enacted, legislators such as the three senators seeking to intervene in this litigation, do not have a significantly protectable interest in its implementation to entitle them to intervene as of right.”
The Senators also lacked a significant interest in the litigation, the Court said, and noted the Senators did not contend they have any economic, aesthetic or recreational interests at stake, among other things.
The judge did say, however, that the Senators may file an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the plaintiffs.
NewsClips:Judge: PA State Senators Cannot Enter Delaware Watershed Drilling Lawsuit
Federal Legislation Passes To Protect Delaware River Basin