Friday, June 1, 2018

DEP Loses Appeal Of Unconventional Drilling Regulation Injunction At PA Supreme Court, Case On Merits Continues

The PA Supreme Court Friday issued a decision upholding almost all of the provisions of a preliminary injunction issued by Commonwealth Court in November 2016 stopping DEP from temporarily enforcing certain Chapter 78a regulations on unconventional natural gas drilling.
This means consideration of the merits of the challenge to these provisions brought by the Marcellus Shale Coalition will continue in Commonwealth Court.
At issue was the preliminary injunction prohibiting DEP from temporarily enforcing regulations related to requiring drillers to--
--  Protect certain public resources-- playgrounds and common areas and wildlife species of special concern;
-- Requiring drillers to monitor and plug orphan and abandoned oil and gas wells within 1,000 feet of a proposed new drill pad;
-- Upgrade or close existing well-development impoundments and applying new construction standards to new centralized impoundments; and
-- Providing for restoration of well drilling pads after drilling is completed.
In all cases except two, the PA Supreme Court found Commonwealth Court did not err in issuing a preliminary injunction until the merits of the case could be heard.
The exceptions were in the case of well pad restoration and application of the regulations to well-development impoundments where it allows DEP to enforce these regulations until the case is decided.
Click Here for a copy of the Court’s decision.

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