CELDF sanctioned by US District Court over Grant Twp local control ordinance

In a January 8 story, E&E News reports that the US District Court has reprimanded CELDF attorneys and assessed financial penalties, as had been requested by Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE).

The ruling would appear to vindicate the strategy, articulated publicly by the oil and gas industry, of bringing punitive legal action against "local control" efforts. According to the E&E News story, Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter supplied eminently quotable language in her ruling, which we can expect to see widely cited by industry representatives. Potential sound-bites include "implausible legal theories, "harassment ... unbridled obstruction", and "counsels' conduct results from bad faith and not well-intentioned zeal."

One especially strident advocate for oil and gas interests, Energy in Depth is quoted in the E&E News article, and will almost certainly be trumpeting PGE's victory:

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) has been targeting communities all over the country for years with misinformation campaigns and has proven to be nothing more than a litigation factory, as this recent federal judge has confirmed,

The Grant Township campaign has been an important focus for CELDF, and CELDF is also quoted in the E&E News report:
At a time when Americans more and more are looking to the courts for reason and justice, today we find neither, as corporate forces once again have been able to wield our institutions of government to punish those working to elevate the rights of communities over fossil fuel corporations.

CELDF issued its own press release on the Court's ruling, noting that:
Magistrate Judge Susan Baxter earlier found that the Township’s prohibition on injection wells violated the corporation’s [emphasis added] constitutional rights. The case is scheduled for a jury trial in May, at which PGE will seek hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Township, claiming that it suffered harm because the company has been prevented from dumping frack waste in a residential area next to the Township’s sole source of drinking water.