Pa. Court Restores Drilling Controls to Local Governments

Friday, 27 Jul 2012 12:07 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A Pennsylvania appeals court has ruled that parts of the state’s new oil and gas drilling law are unconstitutional, but Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration plans to appeal.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the law essentially skirts the local permitting process, which limits the ability of local governments to keep drilling rigs and waste pits away from homes, parks, and schools. The court ruling restores that power to the local communities.

“If you want to build a shed in our townships, you’re probably going to need a permit from us. And we just wanted [drillers] to be treated like everybody else,” said attorney John M. Smith, who argued the case for community leaders in the Pittsburgh area.

Corbett’s office told the Tribune Review the decision would be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

In all, the communities filed 12 complaints, but the court only agreed with four. The court dismissed complaints challenging eminent domain provisions in the law to allow for pipelines and provisions governing information drillers are required to provide doctors.

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