Meanwhile, two miles away, Land's MC Resource Pine Valley Springs operation on the leased Hower property is embroiled in a lawsuit with the DEP, being heard before the PA Environmental Hearing Board. The issues are DEP suspended Land's permit because he is running a commercial water extraction operation and not fulfilling the terms of the permit - he is not monitoring bypass flow to ensure a spring maintains minimum flow, and he is not treating the water extracted with UV light as required. If he treats the water, then he has to maintain records which has an expense, and he can be held accountable if the metrics aren't met. To put it succinctly, Land is trying to operate the Pine Valley operation without satisfying DEP permitting requirements. His appeal before the Environmental Hearing Board is grinding along, and it has become common knowledge that once the Pine Valley lease expires (in the next year), Land intends to shift production to the Fort Franklin location. He's biding his time at Pine Valley to run out the clock, but the resolution of the issues at Pine Valley may affect future Fort Franklin operations. If you read the docket (linked to above) unfortunately you will find the DEP is dragging its ass, and Land has been having his way with them for years. It is not dissimilar to the circle-jerk with the West Penn Supervisors, as will be seen below. Land has gotten his way until now, and apparently only legal action by concerned citizens will stop him because West Penn Supervisors are doing anything and everything to be deaf, dumb and blind. More about that is below as well. Let's get the party started.
West Penn Township Writ of Summons filed August 29, 2016 related to Jay Land's water extraction on Scribd
Residents stage protests against water extraction
- The permit was issued in error, because "water harvesting" is not a use in the zoning district(s) where the Fort Franklin site is located.
- The permit expired on January 17, 2017, because multiple requirements associated with the permit were not completed/satisfied.
The legal opinion referenced in the residents' appeal is below. It is significant, in that the Commonwealth Court found that water extraction is a more intense use than agriculture, and more similar to mineral extraction. West Penn's Zoning Officer, its solicitor and certain BOS members have stated water extraction is similar to an agricultural use.