PA County Court Rules Drilling OK in Ag/Residential District

Since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s horrible decision in the infamous “Robinson” case that ruled local municipalities have the right to regulate oil and gas drilling via local zoning ordinances, there have been several cases where anti-drillers have tried to turn the decision (a decision they earnestly desired) on its head. The “Supreme” justices decided that local towns and cities can control where drilling takes place–although they must reserve at least one zoned district (industrial) where they allow oil and gas drilling (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). What the antis didn’t factor is that there are some local communities with clear-thinking and straight heads on their shoulders–communities that may evaluate a request for drilling and grant an exception to allow it, in oh, say a agricultural/residential area instead of just an industrial area. Perhaps the most famous example of such a case currently being litigated is in Butler County where parents from the Mars School School district along with two Big Green groups from Philadelphia are using the courts to block, since last November, legally permitted and town-approved drilling 3/4 of a mile from the Mars School District (see Rex Drilling Operation Near Mars School Put on Hold). The convoluted argument from antis is, in essence, zoning regulations are not strict enough. That’s not what the Act 13 decision was about. You can’t have your cake AND eat it too. Some towns will decide to allow drilling under their zoning laws that you may not agree with! A similar case has just been decided in Westmoreland County in local county court–and it’s very good news for the Marcellus industry…

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