Monday, January 27, 2020

Environmental Groups Back Bucks County Township's Appeal Of Pipeline Compressor Station Air Permit

On January 27, Clean Air Council, PennFuture, Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, and Mountain Watershed Association filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Commonwealth Court in support of the appeal of West Rockhill Township, Bucks County, seeking to reverse the dismissal of its case before the Environmental Hearing Board challenging a DEP pipeline compressor station’s air pollution permit.
The effect of the Environmental Hearing Board’s dismissal of the township’s case was to deprive anyone appealing a decision of the Department of Environmental Protection concerning an interstate gas pipeline of the right to a trial where they can put on evidence and have a judge weigh the new evidence. 
The groups believe the Environmental Hearing Board misread the law and deprived the township of due process.
“With the proliferation of pipelines endangering communities across Pennsylvania, it is more important than ever that we work to preserve our right to a full hearing where we can put on the evidence that these facilities are not safe,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council. “Depriving the township of its right to a hearing not only sets a bad precedent, but it also puts the health and safety of Pennsylvania residents in jeopardy.” 
“Our state has decided that when anyone challenges a DEP decision they need access to a fair evaluation of the facts by state-appointed experts in environmental matters,” said Ryan Hamilton Esq., Pennsylvania Supervising Attorney for Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services. “Anything less restricts due process.”
“Through the Environmental Hearing Board, groups like PennFuture are able to present evidence and develop essential facts to ensure the health of our environment and our communities is protected,” said Abigail M. Jones, Senior Attorney for PennFuture. “The Board should not be allowed to unilaterally take away our ability to adequately challenge permits that are not protective of Pennsylvania’s air and water. Otherwise, we would be left with no opportunity to show the damage done by pipelines, compressor stations, and the like.”
[Posted: January 27, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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