Judge questions judge’s handling of high-profile gas case

Today is January 18th, the day a judge in Pennsylvania would hear arguments about whether the non-disclosure agreement, NDA, between Stephanie and Chris Hallowich and Range Resources, MarkWest Energy Partners and Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream should be unsealed. (For some background click HERE.)

Friday‘s hearing was the latest in a case about one of the country‘s most famous gas drilling activists, Stephanie Hallowich, whose case has been featured in local and national publications.

I don’t think there is a decision about the NDA yet.

The first judge handling this case, Paul Pozonsky, hightailed it to Alaska rather than face questioning about how he handled things. Then when Alaska started questioning him he hightailed it again.

The new judge in the case is Debbie O‘Dell Seneca.

Washington County judge questions former colleague’s handling of gas case
By Timothy Puko
Published: Friday, January 18, 2013, 1:18 p.m.

Common Pleas President Judge Debbie O‘Dell Seneca said Paul Pozonsky — who resigned last year amid a state investigation — did not follow normal procedure in a case pitting a Mt. Pleasant resident against several gas companies. She noted the judge and lawyers changed dates without public notice and said the judge may not have cautioned lawyers about the chance their secret agreements could be subject to public scrutiny.

I wonder if Ponzonsky knows Trey Loftin. Has anybody seen him lately?

I wonder how the frackers get so lucky with judges in “high-profile” gas cases.

I wonder if their streak of luck in Pennsylvania has run out.

Here is a video for you to enjoy.

UPDATE: News report on the hearing. The frackers’ attorney basically said that unsealing the records would infringe on their right to keep dirty secrets so they can keep poisoning people and paying next to nothing in settlements.

UPDATE 2: from a spectator at yesterday’s hearing:

There were more professionals and workers (lawyers, court clerks, reporters ~13) than citizens (~10) in the courtroom for this hearing yesterday. It was supposed to start at 9:30 but the judge didn’t arrive until 10:15. In my opinion, she is going to unseal at least part of the sealed documents. She pointed out that the privacy of the children does not play that big a role, partly because their photo appeared in National Geographic along with a story describing many of the details of their case.

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Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.