Monday, September 13, 2010

United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania

Scranton Times-Tibune

A natural gas drilling company has filed a federal lawsuit against Damascus Twp. in Wayne County, just days after township officials issued a "cease-and-desist" work order on one of the company's exploratory wells because it didn't obtain a permit.

The suit, filed July 6 by a subsidiary of Houston-based Newfield Exploration Co., claims that on July 2 township officials "took administrative action to stop the drilling project" by issuing a stop-work order. It further states the township does not have any regulatory authority to do so through its zoning ordinance.

The suit alleges that state law, in particular the state Oil and Gas Act, which is enforced by the state Department of Environmental Protection, supercedes all local authority to regulate or require any special provisions upon natural gas exploration and development.