PA Court Overturns Portion of Pro-Fracking Anti-Community Law

Says local towns retain zoning power


Kathleen Sutcliffe, Earthjustice, (202) 797-5235

Today a Pennsylvania court overturned (PDF) a portion of a controversial state law—Act 13—that sought to override local zoning laws related to the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

The decision stems from a lawsuit by seven Pennsylvania municipalities and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network challenging the constitutionality of Act 13.

Earlier this year in New York State, courts twice ruled in favor of towns that have limited industrial gas development through local zoning. The non-profit environmental law firm Earthjustice is representing the town of Dryden, one of the New York towns.

The following is a statement by Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg:

“For the third time this year, state courts have recognized that local municipalities have rights that must be respected when industrial activities are proposed for their communities. This is terrific news, not only for the people of Pennsylvania, but for communities across the country trying to defend their way of life from destructive gas development. Today’s ruling gives encouragement—and firm legal backing—to Pennsylvania communities daring to stand up to the oil and gas industry with local zoning laws.”

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