Frack Spill Appeal May Level Pa. Enforcement Playing Field

November 16, 2015 – In The News

Philip L. Hinerman was featured in the Law360 article “Frack Spill Appeal May Level Pa. Enforcement Playing Field.” Full text can be found in the November 16, 2015, issue, but a synopsis is below.

EQT Production Co.’s bid to sue the state Department of Environmental Protection to halt a $1.2 million fine may be considered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which “could level a negotiating landscape that industry lawyers say tilts toward regulators.”

EQT is looking to have the high court overturn a February ruling by the Commonwealth Court which made it so the company could not challenge the penalty until administrative proceedings are launched by the state.

A Commonwealth Court Judge ruled that, “EQT's only remedy for challenging the monetary penalty was to fight the agency in the EHB proceeding.”

EQT believes that it should only be held responsible for initial damages but the Department of Environmental Protection interprets the law as “allowing daily penalties for the "presence" of contaminants in groundwater.”

According to Fox Rothschild’s Philip Hinerman, "The reality is, the arguments that they are making in Commonwealth Court, they can make them after the EHB rules."