Alert: Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Invalidates Portions of Chapter 78a Regulations as Unlawful

On August 23, 2018, the Commonwealth Court issued a unanimous opinion invalidating components of the new pre-permit process created in 25 Pa. Code §§ 78a.1 and 78a.15(f), and (g), pertaining to new “public resources.”  The Marcellus Shale Coalition (M(…)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Reexamines the Environmental Rights Amendment

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rejected the long-standing test for analyzing claims brought under Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, commonly known as the Environmental Rights Amendment (ERA). In its June 20, 2017 decision in(…)

PA Supreme Court Strikes Down Additional Provisions of Act 13

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared the last remaining challenged sections of Act 13 of 2012 to be invalid in an opinion issued September 28, 2016 in the Robinson Township v. Commonwealth line of cases.  Read more about it in our Administrative Wa(…)

Pa. Commonwealth Court Reverses Controversial Lycoming County Decision

Earlier today, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued a unanimous decision in the much-anticipated case of Gorsline v. Board of Supervisors of Fairfield Township, reversing the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County. In reversing(…)

Third Circuit Affirms Decision to Dismiss Doctor's Act 13 Challenge

In a recent non-precedential opinion, the Third Circuit affirmed a decision of the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissing an action on the basis that a doctor lacked standing to challenge what he refers to as the “Medical Gag Rules” of Act 13.  In(…)

PA Governor Wolf Proposes Gas Severance Tax

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf proposed a 5% severance tax on natural gas production.  Though specific details are not yet available, Wolf recommended a tax modeled after West Virginia’s severance tax, which currently taxes gas at a rate of 5% and imp(…)

PEDF v. Corbett: Appropriations From The Oil And Gas Lease Fund Do Not Violate The Environmental Rights Amendment

On January 7, 2015, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania entered an opinion and order in the case Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (“PEDF”) sought decla(…)

Unconventional Well Report Act Signed Into Law

On October 22, 2014, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed House Bill 2278, The Unconventional Well Report Act, into law. The Act requires operators of unconventional wells to submit monthly production reports to the Department of Environmental Pro(…)

PA Bill Would Permit Severance Tax Without Repealing Impact Fee

On August 25th, Rep. White (D-Allegheny, Beaver and Washington) introduced House Bill 2403 (2014) in order to repeal Section 2318 of Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. Section 2318 provides that upon the imposition of a(…)

Public Utility Commission Appeals Act 13 Ruling

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission appealed the Commonwealth Court’s July 17, 2014 Opinion and Order in the Act 13 case, which resolved a number of issues remanded by the Supreme Court. Review Babst Calland’s Administrative Watches for in-dept(…)

Commonwealth Court Issues Decision On Remaining Issues In Act 13 Case

In its far-reaching decision in Robinson v. Commonwealth, which was issued on December 19, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated several critical provisions of Act 13.  Additionally, the Supreme Court remanded to the Commonwealth Court to a(…)

Allocation of Act 13 Well Fee Announced

Last week, Governor Tom Corbett announced that county and municipal allocations of the Act 13 well fee, which totaled $225 million for calendar year 2013, were available for review on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s website.  The $225 mil(…)

Judge Denies Requests to Intervene in Act 13 Case

On April 9, 2014, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini denied the petition to intervene of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, Marcellus Shale Coalition and American Petroleum Institute in the Act 13 litigat(…)

2013 PA Act 13 Well Fees Expected to Generate $224.5 Million

Governor Tom Corbett announced on Friday that the state of Pennsylvania expects to collect $224.5 million in 2014 through Act 13’s well fee assessed on unconventional wells.  This figure represents an 11% increase over the previous year.  Since Act 13(…)

Supreme Court Denies Application For Reargument Or Reconsideration Of Act 13 Decision

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday, February 21, 2014, denied an Application for Reargument or Reconsideration filed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania regarding the Act 13 decision.  The December 19, 2013 Opinion and Order of the Supreme Court(…)

Governor Corbett Asks Operators to Continue to Adhere to Setback Provisions

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has requested that oil and gas operators continue to help protect the rivers, streams and wetlands by adhering to environmental standards, including setback provisions, that we(…)

Commonwealth Asks Pennsylvania Supreme Court To Reconsider Act 13 Decision

As reported in December, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on December 19, 2013 invalidated portions of Act 13, including provisions limiting local government control and provisions regarding setbacks from the waters of the Commonwealth, pursuant to Arti(…)

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decides Act 13 Case

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that several critical provisions of Act 13, the General Assembly’s 2012 comprehensive update to the former Oil and Gas Act, are unconstitutional.  In addition to invalidating a key section of Act 13 placing lim(…)

Members of the PA House To Introduce A Severance Tax Bill

On December 12, 2013, several Pennsylvania state representatives announced their plan to introduce a bill creating a severance tax on unconventional natural gas extraction.  The proposed tax, which would replace Act 13’s existing impact fee, would be(…)

Middle District of Pennsylvania Dismisses Physician's Challenge to Act 13

On October 23rd, the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissed Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez’s complaint challenging Act 13’s so-called “Medical Gag Act.”  If, during the course of treating a patient, a health professional deems it necessary for an operator t(…)

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Applies To Resubmit Act 13 Case to Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) filed two applications this week with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in cases related to Act 13.  In the appeal related to the constitutionality of Act 13 the PUC filed an Application to Resubmit Case,(…)

New Justice Will Not Participate In Act 13 Ruling

Newly-appointed Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Correale Stevens will not participate in ruling on the legality of Act 13 or on any other case that has gone through oral argument.  With only six justices participating in the decision, the Act 13 de(…)

Pennsylvania PUC releases 2012 Marcellus Shale Impact Fee Allocations

Natural gas producers will pay $202.47 million in Marcellus Shale impact fees from 2012 activity, according to a June 13, 2013 Pennsylvania PUC press release.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the number is down less than 1 percent from the $2(…)

Municipalities Fail To Disclose Act 13 Well Fees

By April 15th, local governments in Pennsylvania were required to complete paperwork related to how the shale gas well fee money was spent in 2012.  However, millions of the money distributed under Act 13 remains unaccounted for because local governme(…)

Allegheny County Health Department Recommends 24-Hour Notice of Drilling

On March 6, 2013, the Allegheny County Health Department unanimously passed a recommendation that would require unconventional shale gas operators to notify the Department 24 hours prior to drilling a well, WTAE-TV reports. As previously reported, the(…)

PA Accepting Applications for Marcellus Legacy Fund Programs

On February 25, 2013, the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) began accepting applications for the following five programs established and supported by the Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund: 1. Abandoned Mine Drainage and Abatement and Treatment Program(…)

PADEP Releases 2011 Air Emissions Data

On February 12, 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released its 2011 emissions data from the unconventional drilling industry, which accounts for emissions from natural gas production and processing facilities from “57 opera(…)

PA DEP Disputes that It Undercounted Wells for Impact Fees

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer took issue with a recent claim that the state undercounted unconventional wells for impact-fee purposes in a letter to the author of the study, the Post-Gazette reports.  In(…)

Allegheny County Considering Proposal to Track Gas Well Air Emissions

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Allegheny County Health Department Air Quality Program subcommittee may conduct a preliminary vote today on whether to require developers to notify them at certain stages of drilling to allow the county to co(…)

PA State Senator to Propose Amendments to Act 13 Fracking Disclosure Requirements

Pennsylvania state Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery County) recently circulated a memorandum to state senators stating that he would re-introduce legislation in the 2013-2014 Regular Session to amend portions of Act 13 of 2012 that relate to disclos(…)

Report Contends PA Undercounted Wells in Assessing Impact Fees

A report published in Environmental Practice this month contends that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection undercounted the number of unconventional wells in the state when assessing well impact fees for 2012.  The report suggests t(…)

PUC clarifies Act 13 implementation order regarding impact fees

At its December 20, 2012, public meeting, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) clarified sections of its implementation of Chapter 23 (“Unconventional Gas Well Fee”) of Act 13 of 2012 (Act 13) in response to a Petition for Amendment and Cl(…)