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Wayne Land & Mineral Group LLC v. Delaware River Basin Commission

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20111
Nos. 17-1800, (3d Cir., 07/03/2018)

The Third Circuit vacated a lower court's dismissal of a company's claim that the Delaware River Basin Commission did not have authority to review the company's proposed fracking activities. The company argued that the Commission lacked authority under the Delaware River Basin Compact to review and approve the company's plans to use fracking on land located within the Delaware River Basin to extract gas for sale. The lower court dismissed the company's claim, finding that the text of the Compact clearly encompassed the company's proposed fracking activities. On appeal, the company argued that the dismissal should be vacated because the Compact's text unambiguously did not cover fracking-related activities. The appellate court agreed, concluding that the text of the Compact was ambiguous as to whether the term "project" encompassed fracking. The court therefore vacated the order dismissing the company's complaint and remanded the case for additional fact-finding on the Compact drafters' intent.