Pennsylvania towns challenge state hydraulic fracturing law

Pennsylvania towns challenge state hydraulic fracturing law by David Erickson and Mark Anstoetter, April 6 2012, Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP
Seven Pennsylvania municipalities and several environmental organizations and individuals have challenged a state law that standardizes zoning of oil and gas development across the state and purports to reverse a 2009 state supreme court ruling that allowed a local municipality to use its zoning authority to regulate the location of oil and gas development. … According to petitioners, the law extinguishes all existing zoning and planning, allowing oil and gas operators to drill wells anywhere in a municipality. Among the challenged provisions is a requirement that drilling, waste pits and pipelines be allowed in every zoning district, including residential districts, as long as certain buffers are observed. Petitioners allege that Act 13 violates the state constitution by giving the oil and gas industry special treatment and by denying municipalities their constitutional obligation to protect public natural resources and public health.

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