The Scranton Times is a very partisan newspaper and publishing empire that engages in some of the worst hypocrisy. Is it also serving as a DRBC conduit?
The Scranton Times ran a very unusual editorial Monday. The subject, the timing and the arguments made were all exceedingly strange and raise a very serious question. Was this a case of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) attempting to influence Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani through the newspaper? Could be. At a minimum, it’s a case of stupendous hypocrisy on the part of the Scranton Times.
The subject of the Scranton Times editorial is the landowner lawsuit against the DRBC challenging the latter’s right to use any amount of water use as an excuse to regulate any land use. The case is now back before Judge Mariani and he’s been told by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals that a project cannot simply mean whatever the DRBC wants it to mean, that the DRBC cannot regulate on a whim if there’s a glassful of water involved. It will be up to Mariani to take another look and put some limits on the term project.
The Scranton Times, after laying out the legal question in manner suggesting someone from the DRBC helped with the explanation, and referring to the application of Pennsylvania Senators to intervene in the case, said this in its editorial (emphasis added):
Anyone who ever has visited a gas-drilling site would be hard-pressed to find that it is not a “project,” or to conclude that the pads, drill rigs, fracking apparatus and collection, processing and distribution equipment are not “facilities” that fall under DRBC regulation.
If the DRBC does not have jurisdiction in this matter, it is hard to imagine it could have jurisdiction over a wide array of other development issues. Senators who wish to diminish the commission’s power for the sake of gas drilling thus invite broader challenges to environmental protection and water quality within the Delaware watershed and others that are regulated by multistate bodies.