Act 13 Case Goes Back to Court, Drillers Petition to Join Lawsuit

The Marcellus Shale drilling industry in Pennsylvania is trying to make some lemonade from the truckload of lemons handed to them by the PA Supreme Court’s ill-fated decision to let seven selfish townships gut the state’s Act 13 drilling law passed in 2012. We’ve covered the issue extensively (see a list of MDN’s Act 13 articles here). Perhaps the most egregious and outrageous miscarriage of justice in the case is that the drilling industry, which is directly affected by the case, was never allowed to join the case. The courts said they didn’t have “standing”–and yet those same courts allowed the virulently anti-drilling Delaware Riverkeeper Network to be party to the case. Simply boggles the mind.

The PA Supreme’s in their “wisdom,” decided the zoning portions of the case and sent the rest of the case back to a lower court so they could finish gutting the Act 13 law. As MDN previously reported exactly a month ago, the drilling industry has, once again, respectfully requested they be allowed to join the case now that it’s in the home stretch (see Drillers Petition PA Court (Again) to Participate in Act 13 Case). While the drilling industry can’t undo what has been done by the Supreme Court, it is clear that they believe they can lessen the damage done if they win certain arguments in lower court–arguments like affirming the Public Utility Commission’s authority to review whether a zoning ordinance crosses the line and preempts state oil and gas law. In other words, the seven selfish towns may not have gotten their own selfish way after all–not entirely. The hearing on whether to allow the industry to join what’s left of the lawsuit is today…

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