Pennsylvania Supreme Court protects local zoning rights against drilling

In a move that has potential for informing opposition to Beartooth Front drilling, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court voted 4-2 yesterday to declare major provisions of the state’s Marcellus Shale drilling law, Act 13, unconstitutional. The key element of the decision overturns the section of the law that allows gas companies to drill anywhere, overriding local zoning laws.

The decision was based on a suit filed by a small number of Pennsylvania townships challenging the law, and signaled a victory for the rights of citizens against corporate interests. It also is an important step in protecting the environment against uncontrolled drilling. Chief Justice Ronald Castille, writing for the majority, indicated possible Court support for future restrictions on drilling when he wrote in the decision that

 the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale Formation will produce a detrimental effect on the environment, on the people, their children, and the future generations, and potentially on the public purse, perhaps rivaling the environmental effects of coal extraction.

With the quasi-ban passed last week in Dallas, we have now seen recent significant political and legal victories against destructive drilling. On the Beartooth Front, we will need to aggressively explore the same options to make sure the environment, economy and quality of life are protected.

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.
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One Response to Pennsylvania Supreme Court protects local zoning rights against drilling

  1. Carlos X says:

    GOOD thing for PA, but remember: “What happens in PA stays in PA. This is a PA case about a PA state law, the outcome has NO meaning in a MT court.
    BAD thing for anywhere else with fracking possibilities: As more places are removed by law or litigation, the Feeding Frenzy will intensify in the remainder.
    Hoping, praying, and wishing are self-delusional: Acting, Coordinating, Writing and Voting are not.
    Carlos X

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