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Wed Aug 28, 2013, 02:26 PM

Federal Judge Halts Attempt to Frack Land that Was Protected by Permanent Conservation Easement

A permanent conservation easement is often placed on a property by a property-owner to make sure that a property can never be developed or subdivided. It is often done in return for payment from a county or a conservation organization or a federal tax deduction. In northeast PA. there was an attempt to get around this permanent restriction in order to allow fracking.

Excerpt:

"... in Stockport Mountain v. Norcross Wildlife Foundation, U.S. District Judge James M. Munley of the Middle District of Pennsylvania granted defendant Norcross Wildlife Foundation’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the conservation easement on the land it co-owned with plaintiff Stockport Mountain Corp. unambiguously bans drilling.

Munley said Section 4(c) of the easement, prohibiting “‘industrial or commercial uses of any kind,’” clearly precludes drilling.

Munley rejected Stockport’s argument that the parties could not have intended to ban shale gas production because they didn’t even consider it as a possibility when they executed the easement in 2002."

Read more:

http://www.law.com/jsp/pa/PubArticlePA.jsp?id=1202617155709&kw=Judge%20Rules%20Conservation%20Easement%20Bans%20Drilling&et=editorial&bu=The%20Legal%20Intelligencer&cn=20130827&src=EMC-Email&pt=PM%20Legal%20Alert&slreturn=20130728151910#ixzz2dIF2s7yO

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Reply Federal Judge Halts Attempt to Frack Land that Was Protected by Permanent Conservation Easement (Original post)
JPZenger Aug 2013 OP
elleng Aug 2013 #1
Ednahilda Aug 2013 #2
Champion Jack Aug 2013 #3
dballance Aug 2013 #4
JPZenger Aug 2013 #5

Response to JPZenger (Original post)

Wed Aug 28, 2013, 02:33 PM

1. GOOD decision!

'they didn’t even consider it as a possibility when they executed the easement in 2002,' but if they HAD, they would have executed the easement IN SPADES!!!

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Response to JPZenger (Original post)

Wed Aug 28, 2013, 02:52 PM

2. "Munley rejected Stockport’s argument

that the parties could not have intended to ban shale gas production because they didn’t even consider it as a possibility when they executed the easement in 2002."

I'm no lawyer, but I'm assuming that's why the prohibition on 'industrial or commercial uses of any kind' as written in the easement is so broad - so that it protects against harmful technologies yet unknown.

I'm sure the frackers will keep trying. It's not as if they don't have enough money to keep the fight going.

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Response to JPZenger (Original post)

Wed Aug 28, 2013, 02:58 PM

3. Some good news in the sea of frack fluid...

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Response to JPZenger (Original post)

Wed Aug 28, 2013, 03:07 PM

4. I think it's even more clear than just "industrial or commercial users of any kind"

 

Read the article and PDF from here (no registration required): http://preservationlawdigest.com/2012/03/08/stockport-mountain-corporation-llc-v-norcross-wildlife-foundation/

Not only does the easement say no "industrial or commercial uses of any kind," in the paragraph right after that in Section 4) Prohibited Uses it clearly states "d) Commercial mining and/or quarrying of any kind." Isn't fracking "mining" of a sort?

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Response to dballance (Reply #4)

Wed Aug 28, 2013, 03:11 PM

5. There is a continuing legal fight over whether fracking involves a "mineral"

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