PA Supreme Court Hands Antis Partial Victory re State Land Drilling

In a sharply divided 3-2 decision (full copy below), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of Appeals has sided with a virulent anti-drilling group, the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation, against the state in saying that any revenue generated from leasing and drilling on state-owned land MUST be used solely for conservation and the environment. The state cannot treat, as former Gov. Ed “fast Eddie” Rendell did, revenue from oil and gas drilling on state land as money that can be used for any old cockamamie political reason. That is, the money cannot go into the black hole of the “general fund” in Harrisburg. The three justices who rendered the decision say the law is clear on intent–that money must be used for environmental purposes. Fine. Except the foundation on which they decided the case is PA’s so-called environmental rights amendment. Even though this case is about how money from drilling will get used (a fairly narrow ruling), already antis at PA Big Green groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper claim they will use this decision and the environmental rights amendment to try and block drilling on state lands because it “violates” the state constitution. That’s where they ultimately want to take this. Block it on state lands first, then go for private land next…

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