Source: February 06 2017 | Contributed by Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP, via International Law Office
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) may see new challenges in negotiating settlements with purported violators of Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law.
A Pennsylvania appellate court recently ruled that ongoing penalties are impermissible for a single waterway leak from fracking activities under the state’s Clean Streams Law. The law punishes violators for pollution released into state waters.
The company argued that the Clean Streams Law authorises punishing the “entr[y]” of wastes into state waters, not its movement after initial entry. The appellate court agreed.
This ruling is important, because instead of fearing endless and unquantifiable liability, companies can concentrate more on clean-up efforts and improving industrial procedures.
The DEP has the right to appeal the appellate court’s decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.