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Environmental Law Posts

The Commonwealth Court's Stripper Well Decision - Does it Warrant the Angst? >
April 24, 2017
By: Terry R. Bossert
On March 29, 2017, the Commonwealth Court issued its decision in Snyder Brothers, Inc. v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (1043 C.D. 2015). The decision appears to be a simple legal interpretation of the statutory definition of "stripper well" in a manner beneficial to Snyder Brothers and potentially generally beneficial to the unconventional natural gas industry. However, media attention and political reactions have far outstripped the Court's basic legal analysis. The decision has been cited as a harbinger of diminished impact fee revenue; as a reason to amend Act 13; and, not unexpectedly, as a justification for a new severance tax. The reactions, while not unexpected, are perhaps overstated.
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Determine the Scope of Monetary Penalties Allowed Under the Clean Streams Law >
February 22, 2017
By: Terry R. Bossert and Aaron S. Mapes
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“PADEP”) has appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court an order of the Commonwealth Court which significantly limits the amount of monetary penalties PADEP can assess under the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law (“CSL”). Although it is still early in the proceedings, it appears likely that the Supreme Court's decision could provide important precedent regarding the extent to which PADEP can assess civil penalties under the CSL, especially if the Court accepts and addresses all of the issues PADEP has asserted are implicated by the Commonwealth Court's decision.
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PA DEP Evaluates Itself >
January 19, 2017
By: Terry R. Bossert
Recently, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a press release announcing its internal review of the expedited review process for the Erosion and Sediment Control General Permit (ESCGP-2). At the same time, DEP made available an Internal Review document discussing its audit of the expedited review process.
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DEP Issues New Stormwater General Permit Requirements for Industrial Activity >
October 26, 2016
By: Terry R. Bossert and Lindsay A. Berkstresser
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has reissued the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater Associated with Industrial Activity (PAG-03). The reissued PAG-03 contains significant new responsibilities for permit holders including additional best management practices (BMPs) and stormwater sampling obligations that were not required under the previous version of PAG-03. Additional changes to the reissued PAG-03 involve eligibility for a General Permit; self-monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping; and site inspections.
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules on Remaining Act 13 Issues >
October 3, 2016
By: Terry R. Bossert and Lindsay A. Berkstresser
On September 28, 2016, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an opinion striking down additional provisions of Act 13 of Feb. 14, 2012, P.L. 87 (“Act 13”) in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The decision impacts key aspects of oil and gas operations and presents further challenges to the industry's development throughout the Commonwealth.
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Feds Say All Proposed Federal Actions, No Matter What Size, Should Quantify Expected Greenhouse Gas Emissions >
August 10, 2016
By: Aaron S. Mapes and Stephen C. Jones
Last week, in its latest action to combat climate change, the Obama Administration finalized guidance directing federal agencies to perform quantitative analyses of greenhouse gas emissions in connection with all actions that may impact the environment. The guidance, issued by the White House Council of Environmental Quality, sets forth procedures for federal agencies to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act as they evaluate GHG emissions associated with “proposed federal actions."
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Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Provides First Test of DOJ's Yates Memo Policy >
January 6, 2016
By: Aaron S. Mapes and Carolyn H. Kendall
Post & Schell's Environmental and White Collar Groups examine how the recent VW emissions scandal comes at a time when the DOJ's intention to prosecute high-level executives for corporate wrongdoing, as outlined in the Yates Memo, may face its first true test.
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Recent Events Highlight Legionella Risks for Commercial Real Estate, Hospitality, and Health Care Industries >
August 21, 2015
By: Paul R. McIntyre and Aaron S. Mapes
Legionnaires Disease has grabbed headlines in recent weeks, with high profile outbreaks that have resulted in sicknesses and deaths, along with calls for stricter regulation of water systems, particularly HVAC cooling towers. Given these highly-publicized outbreaks, commercial real estate investors and facility owners and operators would be wise to add legionella assessments to their due diligence protocols, and legionella-specific preventative measures to their property management and building maintenance programs.
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PADEP Unveils Substantial Revisions to Environmental Performance Regulations For Natural Gas Sites >
March 11, 2015
By: John W. Dornberger
On March 9, 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) released its long-awaited revised rulemaking to overhaul and substantially revise the Chapter 78 regulations pertaining to unconventional oil and gas well sites.
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