The DRBC and Constitution Pipeline lawsuits are what happen when people get tired of being pushed around by bullies and strike back – in the courts.
Sometimes a lawsuit is frivolous. It is nothing more than a bogus way for someone to find a small crack to take advantage of someone else. This is why so many doctors pay out the wazoo for malpractice insurance and why so many places have waivers. Sometimes, though, a lawsuit is needed to right a wrong or to fix an issue that is causing undue harm or strain on an individual’s rights. Such is the case with the DRBC and Constitution Pipeline lawsuits. They’re simply about securing justice.
The DRBC lawsuit is happing in Wayne County Pennsylvania is about damn time. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission has had regulations and policies in place for several years to allow fracking yet the Delaware River Basin Commission or DRBC has been sitting around either thinking that this whole fracking fad would pass or Yoko Ono would ride in on her horse (that oddly resembles Bernie Sanders) and would save them from committing to a decision.
The time has come to act and things are finally happening thanks to the Wayne Land and Mineral Group, LLC, some landowners who want to develop their natural gas resources and are demanding action from the courts because the DRBC won’t act. ABC 16 has posted a nice story on the federal lawsuit the group has filed against the DRBC. They want answers and they deserve them. This blog has already given us a great overview of what is happening, so I am not going to dwell on this too much.
One thing stuck out to me like a sore thumb from the ABC 16 story. It was a quote from the opposition and clearly a page taken right out of the Anti-Fracking for Dummies Book: “The DRBC is obligated to take as much time as is necessary to satisfy all environmental concerns,” said Barbara Arrindell of Damascus Citizens for Sustainability.
Yep, the Damascus Citizens for Sustainability – DCS or Damned City Slickers in my book. Either one works as they are a bunch of “fractivists with a Manhattan address” as Jim Willis called them. Arrindell moved to Damascus, but the leadership of the group is pure Manhattanite with “a Broadway architect, a Manhattan ‘conceptual creative’ … a transplanted Hoboken potter, a former fund-raiser for the New York Public Library who lives on Long Island, a Manhattan law professor, a New York City sculptor [and] a Big Apple silk artist” among the board members. These are the people from whom the DRBC runs scared or simply agrees; people who suppose the agency should never act regardless of the law, the science or the needs of the area’s actual citizens.
How can the DRBC sit on regulations for five years? How long does it take to start to implement what has been proven safe over and over again? As long as it takes to never make a decision, Arrindell says, effectively closing the door without taking action. A lawsuit appears to be the only way to force such action.
Likewise, Williams recently filed a suit to fight the wholly political Cuomo decision on the Constitution Pipeline after literally years of delay. When you have federal permission to move ahead and you keep having such games played against you, you will eventually strike back. It’s the only way to secure justice.
This isn’t about some spilled cup of McDonald’s Coffee; it has to do with a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, issued to the company way back in December, 2014. It’s about essential energy, jobs and the future of Upstate New York. Perhaps the suit against McDonald’s is even a bad example; that litigant at least had third-degree burns and the case raised an important matter of safety, which is even a real issue in this case. The fractivists who oppose the Constitutition Pipeline simply oppose anything and everything that is not renewable energy related and they’ve gotten away with it by intimidating public officials. A lawsuit is the proper response to such intimidation.
Perhaps, this is why we need to start thinking about a lawsuit in Maryland as well. Governor O’Malley decided fracking was good to go after years of study by a largely hell-bent opposition committee, and then our politically correct legislature composed largely of Maryland City Slickers (MCS), re-imposed a moratorium. It is only wasting time, of course, and the real purpose, as in New York, is to allow more time for fractivists to tarnish public perceptions of the technology with false information from sources such as Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Action Network – Maryland’s little DCS.
When the Maryland moratorium ends in 2017, there is a good chance Gov. Hogan will make something happen, but don’t underestimate the impact of the tiniest fractivist symbolic wins, meaningless things such as banning fracking in Prince Georges County. The only good news coming from my side of the Mason Dixie line to date is that Cove Point LNG is still humming along and knocking down the idiotic threats to its operation one at a time.
When we are able to start exporting liquid gas out of there and Cheniere Energy’s export terminal in Sabine Pass, Louisiana, on top of sending gas to our Canadian friends, we might start seeing prices settle closer to market value and see production and jobs start coming back. Until then, take them to court and let the reason of law be on our side.
Editor’s Note: These are great points and K.J. is exactly correct; these lawsuits are overdue and the only way to remedy injustices foisted on rural counties in the Upper Delaware region, Upstate New York and Western Maryland. It’s too easy for spineless politicians and agencies to run scared of people such Barbara Arrindell who only defense to the DRBC lawsuit is to argue the agency should be entitled to study the matter forever, irrespective of the evidence and the law, not to mention to the experience of the sister SRBC on whom most of the same Commissioners sit. The strength of the DRBC lawsuit is also obvious from the sputtering reaction of Delaware Povertykeeper Maya van Rossum, who carefully avoids the serious legal issue involved by spouting nonsense such as this:
The DRBC’s authority over shale gas extraction, given the impacts of drilling and fracking for gas, is legally clear and strong.
Her position is to ignore the law and rely solely upon the seriousness of the matter as she perceives it. It’s like calling 911 because there’s a spider in your house. The fact you’re deathly afraid of spiders is not someone else’s emergency and that’s not the purpose of the 911 system. Likewise, the Povertykeeper’s unwarranted and hyped-up fears of fracking aren’t sufficient to create DRBC authority that doesn’t exist and thereby wipe out the Constitutional rights of landowners.