BUCKS COUNTY – June 11, 2021 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced today that a federal judge sided with Senate Democrats to protect the drinking water of five million Pennsylvanians.
The order entered today by Judge Diamond in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismisses, with prejudice, the claims of the Senate Republican Caucus based on lack of standing to bring the lawsuit. The Republican Senate Caucus had filed the lawsuit in an attempt to overturn the Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) now-permanent ban on fracking in the Delaware Basin. In March, Senate Democrats, intervened in the lawsuit and were later joined by Bucks and Montgomery Counties. The intervening parties together filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the plaintiffs lacked standing.
“This is an important victory in our effort to protect the drinking water of five million Pennsylvanians,” said Sen. Santarsiero. “Today’s order granting our motion to dismiss the Senate Republican’s claim was granted with prejudice, which means they are not able to re-file their lawsuit. The DRBC has been a steward of our water supply, and with today’s order they will be able to continue to ensure the Delaware River is free from the hazardous environmental effects of fracking.”
The claims by the local government plaintiffs– Damascus and Dyberry Townships, and Carbon and Wayne Counties—were also dismissed. Those claims were dismissed without prejudice, for failing to state a claim for which relief can be granted. These plaintiffs were given until July 1, 2021 to provide an amended complaint. If they fail to do so by the deadline, their claim will then be dismissed with prejudice.
“I am confident that this is behind us,” continued Sen. Santarsiero. “If the local governments choose to file amended complaints, we will continue to engage in the lawsuit. The Pennsylvania Constitution’s Environmental Rights Amendment guarantees the right to clean, safe drinking water, and my Democratic colleagues and I will continue to do what is necessary to make that a reality across the Commonwealth.”
Court filings and previous announcements on this matter can be found here.