Court blocks pro-in­dus­try pro­vi­sions of gas drilling law

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Marc Levy

HAR­RIS­BURG >> Penn­syl­va­nia’s high­est court is block­ing in­dus­try-friendly pro­vi­sions of a ma­jor 2012 state law de­signed to mod­ern­ize nat­u­ral gas drilling reg­u­la­tions. It’s the lat­est in a string of court de­ci­sions strik­ing down key por­tions of the law.

Four of the court’s six jus­tices Wed­nes­day struck down pro­vi­sions that a lawyer for mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties de­scribed as “gifts” to the gas in­dus­try.

Lawyer Jor­dan Yea­ger says the rul­ing means the in­dus­try has to play by the same set of rules as ev­ery­body else.

The jus­tices up­held a lower court’s 2014 rul­ing that state reg­u­la­tors can­not re­view how lo­cal zon­ing re­stric­tions af­fect the nat­u­ral gas in­dus­try, or pun­ish mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties whose re­stric­tions are more strin­gent than the state’s. The jus­tices also blocked lim­its on what doctors can re­veal about the pro­pri­etary con­tent of hy­draulic frac­tur­ing so­lu­tions that pa­tients may have come into con­tact with.

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