Marcellus Minutes is a subscription-based newsletter sent to all subscribers registered through the Marcellus Minutes website that contains information on legislation including bill tracking, committee hearings and news from the Capitol in Harrisburg. Access to the website is free and provided to those directly involved and those with an interest in Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry.

Court Decisions Halt Momentum on Local Oil and Gas Regulations

Have we seen the midway or El Alamein-style turning point in the courts on the wave of local regulation of oil-and-gas-related activities? In 2014 and the end of 2013, a pair of court decisions signaled judicial momentum allowing local regulation of oil and gas development. In the well-publicized December 2013 case, Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 83 A.3d 901 (Pa. 2013), a three-justice plurality of the court struck down certain provisions of Act 13. Act 13 was the legislative and executive effort to, in part, promote statewide uniformity, and it prohibited local governments from imposing limitations on the construction of oil and gas operations that are more stringent than those imposed on other industrial uses. The well-publicized plurality opinion striking down parts of Act 13 was based on the Environmental Rights Amendment (ERA), which confers upon Pennsylvania citizens the right to clean air and water.

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