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By sandbagger2
#489044
And keep filling the politicians pockets too. :evil:

Gas industry spent $1.4M lobbying Pa. legislature in first quarter of 2017
Rep. Greg Vitali June 2, 2017

HAVERTOWN, June 2 – The natural gas industry spent $1.4 million lobbying the Pennsylvania General Assembly during the first quarter this year, state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, announced today.

Chesapeake Energy led in lobbying expenditures with $211,602. The latest figures, based on quarterly lobbying reports from 43 gas companies in Pennsylvania, bring the total in natural-gas lobbying spent since 2007 to more than $64 million.

“Regrettably the citizens of Pennsylvania pay the price for the undue influence of the gas industry on the legislature,” Vitali said.

Pennsylvania is the only major gas producing state in the country without a severance tax. According to the state Department of Revenue, Pennsylvania will lose $153.4 million in fiscal year 2016-17 by not having a severance tax.

Additionally, Vitali said, commonsense conventional drilling regulations that protect public health and the environment have been derailed due to natural-gas industry influence.

“Conventional drilling regulations have been blocked by the legislature for years despite overwhelming public support and a finding by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission that these rules are ‘in the public interest,’” Vitali said.

“The Wolf administration’s methane-reduction strategy also continues to be delayed in the face of industry pressure. This important step in reducing greenhouse gas is particularly important in light of President Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords.

“The way we regulate lobbyists needs to change. There should be a total gift ban, and lobbying reports must disclose at a minimum which lobbyists are giving what gifts to what legislator and for what legislation.”

Pennsylvania is only one of 10 states that does not limit gifts from lobbyists.

Vitali has been examining the money spent by gas companies on the Pennsylvania legislature. His report, Marcellus Money and the Pennsylvania Legislature is available at www.PaHouse.com/Vitali.
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By sandbagger2
#489051
Pa. Supreme Court upholds broad interpretation of Environmental Rights Amendment
JUNE 20, 2017 | 7:33 PM
BY SUSAN PHILLIPS

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A drilling rig in Tioga State Forest. The Supreme Court ruled that all proceeds from oil and gas drilling on state land needs to be spent on environmental conservation. The court based its ruling on the state's Environmental Rights Amendment.
SCOTT DETROW/ STATEIMPACT PENNSYLVANIA
A drilling rig in Tioga State Forest. The Supreme Court ruled that all proceeds from oil and gas drilling on state land has to be spent on environmental conservation. The court based its decision on a new, broad interpretation the state's Environmental Rights Amendment.
In a landmark environmental decision, a majority of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court justices established a broad interpretation of the Environmental Rights Amendment to the state constitution Tuesday, cementing in place the commonwealth’s role as trustee for public natural resources. The move is a victory for environmental advocates, and a defeat for the state and industrial polluters, who had argued that granting a wider interpretation could deter economic development.

Writing the majority opinion, Justice Christine Donohue said the prior interpretation of the amendment, which included a 3-part legal test and was in place for four decades, “strips the constitution of its meaning.” The opinion clearly defines the role of the state as trustee, which the court said is associated with fiduciary responsibilities.

“The Commonwealth (including the Governor and General Assembly) may not approach our public natural resources as a proprietor, and instead must at all times fulfill its role as a trustee,” wrote Donohue. “Because the legislative enactments at issue here do not reflect that the Commonwealth complied with its constitutional duties, the order of the Commonwealth Court with respect to the constitutionality of 1602-E and 1603-E is reversed, and the order is otherwise vacated in all respects.”

The case brought by the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation challenged the use of oil and gas lease proceeds for anything other than environmental preservation. Each year the state brings in millions of dollars from leasing state forest land to drillers, which was directed back into environmental conservation programs. In 2009, the legislature and former Governor Ed Rendell allowed some of that money to flow into the general fund. Commonwealth Court in 2015, upheld diverting income from those leases to the general fund.

Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision rejected the Commonwealth’s ruling that employed a more narrow interpretation of Article 1, Section 27 of the state constitution, also referred to as the Environmental Rights Amendment, which was passed by referendum in 1971:

The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.

The decision relies on a 2013 ruling that struck down parts of a major gas drilling law known as Act 13. But in that case, only a plurality of justices agreed with a broad interpretation of the Environmental Rights Amendment. Tuesday’s 4-2 decision is more solid, according to John Dernbach, an environmental law professor at Widener University who filed an amicus brief in the case.

“You have a majority of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that is now saying that the text of Article 1 Section 27, and the public trust responsibilities imposed by that text, binds the state of Pennsylvania and limits the way in which the state of Pennsylvania manages its public natural resources,” said Dernbach. “That has never been said before by a majority of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.”

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The oil and gas law of the land: Act 13

Dernbach says the decision sets aside more than 40 years of judicial practice, which employed a less robust interpretation of that amendment. But he says it’s hard to know how that will play out in each individual case brought before the courts.
John Childe, the attorney for the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation, called the decision a big win.

“It clearly mandates that the Commonwealth can no longer treat our natural resources as government property,” said Childe. “The only right the Commonwealth has is to act as trustee of our natural resources. The Court has specifically determined that that duty requires compliance with all legal fiduciary requirements of a trustee.”

Jordan Yeager is an environmental attorney who represented the Delaware Riverkeeper Network in their challenge to Act 13, often referred to as the Robinson Township case. Yeager says the decision bolsters the strength of the Environmental Rights Amendment, and the ability to challenge state actions that could cause environmental harm.

“Just like the government can’t take action that would deprive you of your free speech rights, or the right to bear arms, or private property rights, the same holds true for your environmental rights,” said Yeager.

He says any unreasonable environmental degradation resulting from permitting or legislation, could now be challenged in court on constitutional grounds.

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s Maya van Rossum says it will take time before any clear impacts are felt.

“We’re not going to have instant definition and transformation overnight because all of these rights take time to define,” said van Rossum. “It has to go through that court process. But this is a huge step forward for the rights of the people of Pennsylvania to a healthy environment.”

Attorneys for the state had argued that a broad interpretation of the Environmental Rights Amendment could thwart economic development. A spokesman for Governor Wolf said they’re reviewing the decision.

Justices Debra Todd, Kevin Dougherty and David Wecht joined the majority opinion. Justice Max Baer filed a concurring opinion on the broad interpretation of the amendment, but dissented on the imposition of private trust doctrines, and that the state violated the constitution by diverting the oil and gas lease funds. Chief Justice Thomas Saylor joined Baer in his dissent.

Requests for comment from the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Petroleum Institute and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association were not returned.

Correction: An earlier version misidentified the governor in 2009, it was Ed Rendell.
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By eriknben10
#489053
Just more judicial activism. The law makers make laws so a few activist judges can change the meaning at any given time. What a joke the entire system is. Mostly what it does in this case is give the state another reason to raise taxes to make up for what they were siphoning from fracking and the use of natural resources taken from public property. Also another reason for the utility companies to raise the rates to make up for litigation and expenses because of a few people making waves.
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By BigGabber
#489165
There is a series on YouTube about the pipeline. They are up to 6 episodes. I dunno how they got their name but it's Three Blind men and an elephant productions. Linvilla is tore up pretty good right now. Since mariners east one has had over 200 leaks this one should be even better. I mean hell what's the big deal. 750 feet to 1,000 feet impact zone. Let those school kids escape from that. Let those homes burn. Who cares right? Wake up! You could drive over the damn thing and you could be apart of an impact sight. Accidents happen. This is just an accident I don't wanna see in Aston!
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By BigGabber
#489166
Eriknben, just a couple of questions. Do you live in Aston? Are you within feet of the pipeline? Do you know how catastrophic a leak could be? Or do you think it'll never happen?
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By eriknben10
#489169
Yes, I'm your neighbor. Yes, my house vibrates as they drill. Yes, I understand the chance of an accident is present though not nearly as dangerous as the idiots that fly thru the stop signs in this town. Not worried at all about the new line. I do believe however that some of the old lines running thru the township have passed their prime.

Do you have any idea what caused the " over 200 leaks" in the old lines or the age and type of pipe used? What leaked out and the damage, if any was done? How many lives were lost due to catastrophic failure? Do you think it is safer to move resources above ground?
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By eriknben10
#489171
Stinky Pete wrote:Don't go with the crashing airplane analogy. Just sayin...


It too is a danger we live with, increasing daily as more people fly the friendly skies( some friendlier than others). The key is we can not survive as we do without using our natural resources and I believe the pipelines of today are better than the pipelines of yesteryear. Something like over 300,000 miles of interstate and intrastate transmission pipelines, and 2.1 million miles of distribution pipelines under us. I don't live in fear of any of the dangers. I'll remain optimistic, thankful, and happy.

Thinking about Lehmans tonight for our anniversary dinner. Any reviews from the GoAston clan?
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