Helping to protect landowners right for the extraction of Natural Gas.

Helping to protect landowners' rights for the extraction of Natural Gas.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lawsuits to begin

The lawsuit has been filed as we predicted. See below I am pleased to tell you that luckily DRBC has with drawn itself from theGasland Film Fund raiser which ironically is raising money to fund the lawsuits. Also of interest should be that I feel the Delaware River will be designated as Americas most endangered River tomorrow.The Delaware River is under tremendous pressure from development as farms and forest owners subdivide and sell off for commercial development due to unfavorable economic conditions. Also over the years no progress is being made with the water releases that threaten flooding to folks downstream of the reservoirs.When releases do happen they cause huge temperature fluxuations that are harmful to the fish and other aquatic life of the Delaware River. More later! MarianDamascus Citizens File Multiple Legal Actions Within Upper Delaware River Watershed. Damascus Citizens for Sustainability [] has filed multiple legal notices. On Thursday, May 27, 2010, through counsel, Jeff Zimmerman, Damascus Citizens challenged the failure of the Delaware River Basin Commission [DRBC] to review "exploratory" and or "test" wells withinthe "Special Protection Waters" of the Upper Delaware River Basin Watershed.The legal notice includes a request for a regulatory hearing to address this lack of review. Additionally, a filing has been made with the Environmental Hearing Board of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA-DEP,Department) appealing the issuance of a "Drill and Operate" permit for theTeeple Well.These legal actions are intended to prevent the DRBC from granting blanket exclusions for so-called "exploratory" and/or "test" wells including DLTeeple (PADEP Permit No. 37-127-20013); Rutledge (PADEP Permit No.37-127-20012); Crum (PADEP Permit No. 37-127-20015); and Schwieghofer(PA-DEP Permit No. 37-127-20016). Although there is no legal classification for the term "exploratory well"and/or "test well" classification under Pennsylvania's oil & gas permitting regulations, in its permit application to the PA-DEP for each of these wells, Newfield listed the type of well as "vertical test well." Newfield,also included in the permit file for each of these wells a "To Whom It May Concern" letter in which the company states in writing its intention thatonce its testing is completed, that each well may be "reconfigured and converted to a production well."This legal filing with DRBC is a formal "request for hearing". It contendsthat each of these wells must be subject to a specific review under the DRBCCompact, to review an action or decision of the Commissions or ExecutiveDirector; the "Determination of the Executive Director Concerning Natural Gas Extraction Activities in Shale Formations Within the Drainage Area ofthe Special Protection Waters," (the "EDD"). In accordance with the Commission's decision at its May 5, 2010, meeting, each exploratory/testwell must be deferred from further consideration until DRBC completes preparation and adoption of comprehensive regulations to regulate all natural gas related activities production in the Delaware River Basin. By creating the fictitious category of an "exploratory well," a category that does not exist under Pennsylvania state law, the DRBC acted in anarbitrary and capricious manner by creating a "loophole" where the exception will swallow the normal rules and prevent public hearings and opportunityfor comment submissions by other agencies, government departments, and thegeneral public.Unless this hearing request is granted and the DRBC approachto "exploratory well" is changed, there will be no one at the DRBC reviewingany of these "exploratory wells." With no one at DRBC watching and protecting the "special protection" water resources of the Upper Delaware River Basin, very substantial development will occur that will nullify the effect of the Commission's deferral decision and it's historic mandate within the basin. Additionally, a formal appeal was made by Damascus Citizens to the PA-DEP"Environmental Hearing Board" on behalf of Mr. Carl Keesler and DamascusCitizens.Mr. Keesler resides within less than 1000 feet from the Teepleproject site. On or about April 23, 2010, PA-DEP issued a "Drill and Operate" permit to Newfield, granting permission to Newfield [as contractedby Hess], to drill a gas well on property owned by Mr. Dale Teeple. Among the several legal claims made in the filing are the facts that theproposed project is located within the "Shehawken Rattlesnake Creek"watershed, a designated "Special Protection High Quality" (HQ) watershed.The Department has not given adequate consideration to the impacts of theproject upon water quantity.Further the Department has not evaluated thispermit under its PA state anti-degradation program. Additionally, Hess andNewfield [as contracted by Hess], should be barred from using their partnersor others with any conflict of interest to conduct water tests for theKeesler residence. And PA-DEP's arbitrary and capricious elimination ofreview by County Conservation Districts (CCDs) of erosion and sedimentcontrol permit applications as well as stream and wetlands encroachmentpermit applications exceeded the agency's authority. Elimination of CCDreview also prevented meaningful public participation and local control asrequired by Pennsylvania law. Finally, this permit as issued violates Article I, Section 27 of thePennsylvania Constitution, which guarantees to its citizens "the right toclean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic,historic and esthetic values of the environment," and places a duty upon theCommonwealth to "conserve and maintain" the natural resources of the state"for the benefit of all the people." The record of such drilling in Pennsylvania and elsewhere around the nation shows a clear pattern of destruction of the clean air, pure water and other values thatPennsylvanians enjoy by right. Such drilling, particularly so close to thehome of an unwilling neighbor such as Mr. Keesler, and to the Upper DelawareRiver cannot be reconciled with the Commonwealth's duties under thisprovision. The drilling disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico is an exploratory[test] well.The massive explosion was caused by a single methane bubble.The Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf was given an exclusion - just like theexclusion the Delaware River Basin Commission [DRBC] is allowing for"exploratory" or "test" wells in the watershed region. Construction of these14 exploratory [test] wells has begun. ...............................................................

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