The Law Center joined a group of nearly 100 non-profit organizations, small business owners and elected officials in submitting an amicus brief supporting the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA-DEP) in a historic clean water case.
The case was brought by the fracking company EQT, which accused PA-DEP of issuing exorbitant penalties for EQT’s illegal pollution into a nearby stream in Tioga County, Pennsylvania.
PA-DEP said in its legal filings that this was the worst leak that the agency’s oil and gas program had ever seen, causing an expansive area of groundwater contamination.
However, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court agreed with EQT that it could only be fined for the days on which the contaminated wastewater leaked, not for the days on which the pollution lingered due to EQT’s unwillingness to clean up the pollution flowing from the site. PA-DEP appealed that decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The Law Center and the other signatories hope that our amicus brief will show the Court that the lower court handed down an erroneous decision that will threaten PA-DEP’s ability to rein in illegal polluters.