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Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Law Which Stripped Municipalities of Zoning Rights

This morning, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued a decision striking down the heart of Pennsylvania Act 13 – the provisions that largely preempted municipalities from zoning gas drilling and related activities – as  unconstitutional, null, void and unenforceable. The court also struck down the provision of the law that required the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to grant waivers to the setback requirements in Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act.

Act 13, which was passed in February 2012, all but eliminated the rights of Pennsylvania municipalities to ensure gas development occurs outside of residential and other non-industrial areas.  Today’s ruling recognized that the Pennsylvania Legislature and Governor Corbett went too far.

“This court decision did what the legislature and the Commonwealth’s government did not do—recognize that municipalities need to act to protect their residents and that under the law we have a right to that protection and will fight for it,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper. “This decision proves the fight is well worth it.”

You can view the decision by clicking here.

The legal challenge to the Chapter of Act 13 that took over municipal zoning of oil and gas operations was challenged by Delaware Riverkeeper Network and seven municipalities: Township of Robinson, Washington County; Township of Nockamixon, Bucks County; Township of South Fayette, Allegheny County; Peters Township, Washington County; Township of Cecil, Washington County; Mount Pleasant Township, Washington County; and the Borough of Yardley Bucks County.

A copy of the original pleadings in the case can be found by clicking here.

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