United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
D. Mariani United States District Judge
before the Court is a Motion to Intervene filed by Damascus
Citizens for Sustainability, Inc. ("DCS"). (Doc.
49). For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
17, 2016, Plaintiff Wayne Land & Mineral Group LLC filed
a Complaint against Defendant Delaware River Basin Commission
(the "DRBC"). (Doc. 1). In the Complaint, Plaintiff
asks the Court to enter a declaratory judgment holding that
the DRBC lacks jurisdiction or the authority to require it to
seek prior approval from the DRBC for Plaintiffs intended
plan to construct a well pad and drill a natural gas well on
property which Plaintiff owns in Wayne County, Pennsylvania
(75 acres of which is located in the Delaware River Basin).
the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Maya K. Van Rossum, the
Delaware Riverkeeper (collectively referred to as the
"DRN") filed a motion to intervene on July 5, 2015,
(Doc. 10), which the Court granted on September 12, 2016,
(Doc. 26). On November 11, 2016, the DCS filed a Motion to
Intervene. (Doc. 49). The DRBC opposes the DCS's Motion.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
Delaware River Basin Compact (the "Compact") is an
interstate compact dated November 2, 1961, by and among the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, New York State, New Jersey,
Delaware, and the United States. (Doc. 11, at 2). The purpose
of the Compact is the conservation, utilization, development,
management and control of the water and related resources of
the Delaware River Basin. (Id.) (citing 32 Pa. Stat.
Ann. § 815.101). The Compact created the Defendant DRBC,
which is tasked with the adoption and promotion of uniform
and coordinated policies for water conservation, control, use
and management in the Delaware River Basis. (Id.).
"is a non-profit 501(c)(3) grass roots citizens group
focused on protection of public health and the environment
from pollution caused by oil and gas development using
hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling and production
and related activities and infrastructure." (Doc. 55, at
3). It seeks to intervene in this litigation in order
"to defend the jurisdiction of DRBC under the Compact
and its authority over activities that may affect the water
resources of the Basin." (Id.). According to
Many of DCS's 5000 members live, work, have interests in,
and recreate in the Delaware River Basin. Millions of others,
such as residents of New York City and Philadelphia, use
water from the Basin. DCS and its members rely on the
Delaware River Basin Compact and its implementations by the
Delaware River Basin Commission to review and regulate any
and all projects that may have an adverse effect on the
waters of the Basin and, by extension, public health and the
environment of the Basin.
Since its inception in 2008 DCS has seen a growing number of
cases where individuals and communities outside the Delaware
River Basin have suffered serious health impacts from
pollution caused by fracking near their homes and communities
or upstream from them. DCS and its members are very concerned
that similar types of fracking impacts would occur in the
Basin if these activities are determined to be beyond the
control of the DRBC.
(Id.). The Defendant DRBC opposes DCS's Motion.
Intervention As of Right
Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2) governs intervention as of