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September 18, 2014
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PA Supreme Court strikes down portions of Act 13; municipalities may control drilling through zoning


Jeff Schmidt, Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter director, said, “This ruling is a victory for our local communities, whose interests the Corbett administration has consistently put behind those of the oil and gas industry. Efforts by the general assembly or the governor to resurrect some form of local preemption following this decision will be attempted at great political risk. Those who are our elected officials should act in the best interests of the people, and respect the authority delegated to local municipalities.”

On the other side of the issue, Dave Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, issued a statement saying, “Although we will continue to collaborate with communities across the Commonwealth, today’s decision is a disappointment and represents a missed opportunity to establish a standard set of rules governing the responsible development and operation of shale gas wells in Pennsylvania.

“This outcome should also serve as a stark reminder to policymakers of Pennsylvania’s business climate challenges. If we are to remain competitive and our focus is truly more job creation and economic prosperity, we must commit to working together toward common sense proposals that encourage—rather than discourage—investment into the commonwealth.”

Governor Tom Corbett said, “I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has invalidated some key provisions of Act 13. Act 13 was a bipartisan accomplishment between the administration and members of the general assembly, which raised the bar on environmental protection standards while respecting the rights of local governments.

“The act was crafted with strong input and support from Pennsylvania's local government organizations. We must not allow today’s ruling to send a negative message to job creators and families who depend on the energy industry. I will continue to work with members of the house and senate to ensure that Pennsylvania’s thriving energy industry grows and provides jobs while balancing the interests of local communities.”