Decision Upheld to Fast-Track Drilling in Allegheny Forest

by Dee Fulton on September 26, 2011

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to uphold the 2009 District court decision to block the US Forest Service’s attempt to enact conservative policy on permitting drilling in the Allegheny National Forest.  The Forest Service enacted a policy that called for a multiyear environmental review to assess impacts prior to allowing drilling in the forest.  The Post Gazette reported that  ”Mineral rights owners, joined by oil and gas companies, filed suit and won an injunction that ordered the Forest Service to return to its previous policy of managing drilling in a “cooperative process” that allowed mineral rights owners to give the agency 60 days’ notice of drilling plans.”

It was the opinion of Judge Jane Roth that the forest service had overstepped its authority by essentially creating a permitting process, and that the forest service policy disadvantaged the owners of mineral rights tied to forest land because of the way Pennsylvania oil and gas law is structured.   In Pennsylvania, the “rule of capture” allows for the draining of gas from adjacent land when the reservoir being tapped spans property lines.  In other words, this rule creates a competitive race to see who can get to the gas first.

Read more:

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: