For years we’ve followed the story of Range Resources and their (former) wastewater impoundments in Washington County, PA. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined Range a whopping $4.15 million for violations in September 2014 (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). Some of the nearby neighbors claimed that Range’s leaky impoundments (a quarter of a mile away) contaminated their water wells. One of those landowners was Loren Kiskadden, who sued Range in civil court. The problem is, the DEP determined that the nearby Yeager impoundment had not contaminated Kiskadden’s well, which led to allegations that the DEP had bungled the investigation (see Did DEP Mishandle Range Wastewater Impoundment Investigation?). Kiskadden had to press on, because if the DEP doesn’t reverse its finding, he has no civil case against Range. Press on he did (see Hearing on Range Yeager Impoundment/Water Contamination Continues). The matter was heard by the DEP’s Environmental Hearing Board (EHB). The EHB found that Kiskadden didn’t have a case–his well was not contaminated by Range’s impoundment. So Kiskadden and his lawyers asked for a re-hearing. The result of that re-hearing came in December 2015 and, we thought, finally closed the door, once and for all (see DEP Final Determination: Range Didn’t Pollute Kiskadden Water Well). But no, that was not the end. Kiskadden appealed again, and in October 2016 a Commonwealth Court appeals panel affirmed the EHB’s 2015 dismissal of Kiskadden’s appeal of the DEP 2011 ruling that Range’s Yeager site operations did not contaminate Kiskadden’s well water. Case closed, right? Nope. Kiskadden had one card left to play and he did it–filing an appeal with the PA Supreme Court (see Landowner Appeals Range Well Contamination Case to PA Supreme Crt). Earlier this week, the Supreme Court sent back the appeal marked “case denied.” The fat lady has now sung…
From MDN friend Tom Shepstone, writing on his always-excellent Natural Gas Now website:
Loren Kiskadden, the junkyard plaintiff from Southwestern Pennsylvania, the serial litigator used by some trial lawyers and the fractivist special interests as a poster child for their cause has finally lost for good. The tortured history of the case can be found here and here. There is seems to be little doubt the case was encouraged by the Heinz Endowments, as a fractivist initiative. The Environmental Hearing Board, the Commonwealth Court, and now the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, all looked at the evidence and concluded Loren Kiskadden had no case. It’s over. Range Resources won and fractivism lost “bigly” as some New Yorkers say.
When the Commonwealth Court decision came down in October, I asked this question:
Will this finally be the end of this ridiculous case? Will whoever has been paying for this litigation finally acknowledge the facts?
It wasn’t quite the end because Attorney John Smith and gang (Jesse White’s best bud) appealed the case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. That court has now decided and the junkyard plaintiff lost.
Yes, after all the shouting, the final verdict is here and Loren Kiskadden had nothing. Paul Rubin, his “expert” was viewed with even less credibility in this case than he was in the Dimock case, believe it or not. So ends the hysteria; with a victory for the facts.*
*Natural Gas Now/Tom Shepstone (May 3, 2017) – Final Justice: Junkyard Plaintiff Loren Kiskadden Case Is Over