A recent story about extremists who unsuccessfully tried to halt a
much-needed energy project via a costly lawsuit exemplifies how misguided legal and political maneuvers are increasingly detrimental to participating municipalities.
First, Grant Township was obligated to pay the cost of the defeated lawsuit.
Then, a district judge ruled that the township must pay an additional $100,000 in legal fees.
The town, counseled by radical, deep-pocketed, so-called environmental groups irresponsibly wasted hard-to-find taxpayer dollars trying to fight an injection well.
Now, not-so-deep-pocketed township coffers and officials are left holding the bill.
Grant Township isn’t the only town being manipulated by such organizations.
Countless municipalities across Pennsylvania, Ohio and the nation are being advised to start costly legal initiatives aimed at stopping regulated, tax-paying energy development activities including fracking and pipeline expansion.
These efforts, historically, have a losing record and often cripple communities with tough-to-overcome legal expenses.
At what point will these extremist organizations stop abusing our legal and electoral systems and quit pushing well-intentioned municipal leaders into advocating for likely-to-be-defeated initiatives that hurt job growth, waste taxpayer dollars and increase energy expenses on lower-income families and those living paycheck to paycheck?
Especially now that two recent reports show that the U.S. is leading the world in environmental improvements, including significant declines in methane emissions, even as natural gas production increases.
Ultimately, the only national movement these irresponsible efforts are triggering is possible bankruptcy for the communities participating.
Mid-Atlantic director, Consumer Energy Alliance