Third Circuit Court of Appeals Halts Construction of PennEast Natural Gas Pipeline, Must Decide Issue of Eminent Domain

Recently, we reported that the United States District Courts for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey granted a consortium of natural gas companies the right of eminent domain to take steps towards building the PennEast pipeline to connect natural gas sources in Pennsylvania to parts of New Jersey. As the next development in this project’s complicated legal track, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay to temporarily stop any physical construction from beginning
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Pennsylvania Appellate Court Grants Landowners New Path to Recover Natural Gas Royalties

In a case of first impression, a Pennsylvania Appellate Court has granted an interlocutory appeal permitting the state’s Attorney General to pursue restitution claims on behalf of landowners who claim that natural gas companies violated the terms of their subsurface mineral lease agreements by improperly withholding royalty payments. In Anadarko Petroleum Corp., et. al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Court recently ruled that the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office can bring royalty claims on behalf of landowners against natural gas
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Pennsylvania Lawmakers Push Nuclear Power Bailout, Further Define Alternative Energy Initiative

Pennsylvania legislators have proposed a new law that would preserve the existence of nuclear power by funding operations via large-scale government subsidies. Lawmakers recently proposed “Keep Powering Pennsylvania” House Bill (HB) 11, which, if passed, would re-classify nuclear power as a qualifying energy resource under Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) and effectively subsidize the entire industry within the state.  As part of Pennsylvania’s larger alternative energy initiative, AEPS was enacted to provide economic development opportunities by increasing the mix of alternative energy generation. The law requires each distribution company in Pennsylvania to supply 18% of its
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Yet Another One Bites the Dust – Latest Climate Change Lawsuit Dismissed in Pennsylvania

In what definitely is becoming a pattern, yet another climate change lawsuit has been dismissed. On February 19, 2019, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed the case Clean Air Council, et al. v. United States of America, Civ. No. 17-4977. With this dismissal, six significant climate change lawsuits, and several more questionable suits, now have been rejected by different US courts around the country: [in addition to Clean Air Council, what can be considered
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Now In My Backyard: PA and NJ Federal Courts Grant Right of Eminent Domain for Construction of Natural Gas Pipeline

Recently, the United States District Courts for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey almost simultaneously granted a consortium of natural gas companies the right of eminent domain to take steps towards building a pipeline connecting natural gas sources in Pennsylvania to parts of New Jersey. The opinions, which were released within three days of one another, involved challenges by local residents, environmental groups, and governmental agencies who argued that because certificates of approval had not
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Pincer Move? State AGs Employ Two-Pronged Attack on U.S. EPA Over Landfill Emissions

A multistate coalition of Attorneys General, including California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont; and the California Air Resources Board, joined to file comments demanding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdraw its proposed rule delaying by four years implementation of a regulation that would reduce emissions from landfills. The regulation at issue, known formally as the 2016 Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfill, was designed to reduce landfill emissions
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PA Supreme Court Enforces “Impact Fees” Against Natural Gas Drillers, Defines Scope

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has issued an opinion providing guidance to the natural gas industry regarding the application of “impact fees” associated with hydraulic fracturing. ​In Snyder Brothers, Inc., v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, et. al., the court decided that natural gas drillers whose production from wells exceeds 90,000 cubic feet per day, for even one month of the year, will be required to pay impact fees. The decision overturns Pennsylvania’s intermediary appellate court’s prior decision that allowed drillers to avoid the impact fee if their vertical wells were classified as “stripper wells,” which, by definition, are not subject to impact fees due
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Another State Takes a Seat at the PFAS Table – Developments in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

As an emerging issue touching most corners of the country, our firm’s lawyers report on everything PFAS. Although New York and New Jersey — the latter being one of the leaders on PFAS action — are popular subjects, we come to you today with an update from their neighbor: the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A state without its own PFAS regulations, it has been taking meaningful steps in the last few months to investigate these substances. On September 19, 2018,
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Fracking Wastewater Does Not Meet Definition of “Toxic” Under Pennsylvania Law, Appellate Court Says

Pennsylvania’s appellate courts continue to be active in shaping the state’s laws surrounding hydraulic fracturing. Recently, in Protect PT v. Penn Township Zoning Hearing Board and Apex Energy (PA) LLC, the Commonwealth Court affirmed a zoning board’s decision permitting a natural gas company to store large quantities of wastewater from fracking operations at and around multiple drilling sites because it did not meet the definition of “toxic” material, as set forth under local ordinance, among other reasons. In this decision involving multiple
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Pennsylvania Legislators in Favor of Fracking, Seek to Join Opposition Against Delaware River Basin Commission’s Moratorium

Earlier in 2017, we reported the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to reinstate a landowner’s challenge to the Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the 24 county region, spanning across parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and New Jersey. In that decision (Wayne Land & Mineral Group LLC v. Del. River Basin Comm’n), the court held that the definition of the word “project,” as set forth in the DRBC’s governing document, the “Compact,” was ambiguous, and therefore remanded the case for the trial court to engage in fact-finding
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