Pa. Supreme Court bars gas industry from intervening in Nockamixon lawsuit

Pa. Supreme Court bars gas industry from intervening in Nockamixon lawsuit by Amanda Cregan, June 26, 2012
Representatives for several gas and oil companies operating in Pennsylvania have been denied a request to intervene in Nockamixon’s challenge to the state’s natural gas drilling law. On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied the gas companies’ appeal. Industry representatives sought to join a state agency that is seeking to lift an injunction. That court order temporarily halts the state from moving forward with some aspects of the law, like zoning. The injunction expires in August. In March, Nockamixon, Yardley and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network teamed up with several Western Pennsylvania communities to file a lawsuit against Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale gas drilling law, claiming it strips away constitutional rights of citizens and local municipalities. Industry representatives have argued that they have a right to intervene based on their significant financial investments in the commonwealth’s oil and gas industry and their support of Act 13’s attempt to standardize often inconsistent and conflicting local ordinances related to oil and gas operations. In their ruling, Supreme Court judges essentially agreed with Nockamixon’s argument — and the Commonwealth Court’s April ruling — that since it is ultimately the duty of the commonwealth to defend the constitutionality of Act 13, lawmakers and gas drilling representatives’ interests are already adequately represented as citizens and business owners in Pennsylvania.

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