Forest Service to pay attorneys fees to industry group that challenged a settlement

The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to pay an oil and gas industry group $530,000 for attorney fees it incurred in a long-running battle over drilling in the Allegheny National Forest, according to a court document filed Thursday.

The Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association sued to overturn a 2009 agreement between the government and two environmental groups that banned drilling while the agency conducted an environmental impact study. The industry contended that the ban exceeded the Forest Service’s authority.

U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin agreed and, in September 2012, permanently overturned the agreement. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his ruling in January 2014.

I await the cries of indignation.

1 thought on “Forest Service to pay attorneys fees to industry group that challenged a settlement”

  1. What some people do not realize is that the oil and gas companies actually OWN the below-ground rights, retaining them when they gave the above-ground rights to the Federal government. I’m sure that the court looked at the original documents and the terms of the previous land owners. I understand that private citizens sometimes own above-ground rights to their property, as well, having to vacate if mining or oil and gas want to do some exploring and/or extraction below.

    It’s odd walking around in such forests, smelling that sweet Pennsylvania crude oil, throughout. Most of those wells are on timers and their footprints are about an acre. It appears that the Forest Service had no way of avoiding litigation, there. In all cases like this, I want to see all reimbursed legal costs documented and scrutinized.


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