Drillers Petition PA Court (Again) to Participate in Act 13 Case

Try this on for size. Pennsylvania lawmakers passed sweeping new regulations, called Act 13, that control how and where drillers can drill, and stipulate how much money drillers will pay as part of a new “fee” (really a tax, but called an impact fee). A portion of the Act 13 law–statewide uniform zoning regulations–was challenged by seven townships that eventually won in the PA Supreme Court (see Happy Story Ends Badly Because of 7 PA Towns). Early on the drilling industry wanted to join the case to argue in favor of the Act 13 law but the wizards on the bench said nyet. The judges said the industry had no “standing” to be party to the suit, while an anti-drilling environmental organization was allowed to participate. “Standing for me but not for thee” was the attitude. It was and is the height of hypocrisy because the Act 13 law directly affects those very industry groups and their members. Anyone can see there’s “standing” for the industry to participate in a lawsuit that directly affects them.

The PA Supreme Court made a poor decision on Act 13, based on poor theories of law, and then took the easy way out and sent the non-zoning portions of the case back to a lower court to decide if the entire law should be scrapped. There’s a very possibility that will now happen (see Ongoing Fallout from PA Supreme Court’s Wrong Act 13 Decision). The three top drilling industry groups in PA yesterday petitioned the court, once again, to join the lawsuit as it’s now considered in the lower court, arguing they are DIRECTLY affected by the outcome and indeed it is evident to ALL that they do have standing. The groups are trying to salvage something out of the miscarriage of justice that has occurred at the Supreme Court. Question is: Will anti-drilling judges once again deny their petition to join the case?…

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