On March 12, the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus, represented by our Environmental Practice Group, filed a motion to intervene in Yaw v. The Delaware River Basin Commission. This suit, brought by several Republican State Senators, the State Senate Republican Caucus, and Damascus Township, seeks to overturn the Delaware River Basin Commission’s ban on fracking. The Plaintiffs claim that the DRBC does not have the authority to enact the ban, and if so, the ban constitutes a taking under the US Constitution. In addition, the Republican Senators claim that the DRBC’s action to ban fracking usurps their legislative authority.  Environmental Practice group members Steve Miano, Rob Wiygul, and Pete Keays are representing the intervenors in this matter.

The Delaware River Basin is a watershed covering the approximately 13,600 square miles that drains into the Delaware River and its tributaries. The Basin spans four states—Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York—and provides drinking water to 13.3 million people, including 8.3 million residents of Pennsylvania.

The Basin’s states created the Delaware River Basin Commission to act in the best interest of the common resource, particularly in situations where the pursuit of one set of stakeholders’ economic interests would cause significant harm to the waters upon which all stakeholders rely. Toward that end, the Commission issued a moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” based on the determination that it could cause considerable and irreparable harm to the waters of the Basin.

Our clients have sought intervention in order to defend the authority and action of the DRBC.