PA Supreme Court Rules Against Act 13 Drilling Law, Yet Again

Gavel-falling.jpgThe Democrat-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled yesterday in another (hopefully final) decision on the 2012 Act 13 Marcellus drilling law passed and signed by then-Gov. Tom Corbett. Four Democrat judges have just struck down more of Act 13, leaving not much left except the part that raises money and gives it away (called an impact fee, otherwise known as a severance tax). You will recall that seven selfish towns sued the state over the Act 13 law and it’s provision that would substitute a statewide, uniform and fair set of zoning ordinances for drilling in place of a patchwork, crazy quilt system of local ordinances for oil and gas drilling. These seven selfish towns wanted their own ordinances and sued, ultimately winning at the Supreme Court (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). The PA Supremes couldn’t, however, be bothered with deciding every tiny bit of nuance and sent some items back to the lower Commonwealth Court for final decisions. Following several cases in the lower courts, some of it came back to the Supreme Court for a final decision, and that just happened. The Supreme’s ruling (full copy of their decision is embedded below) affects the use of eminent domain, what information can be shared by doctors as it relates to privileged trade secrets for drillers, and most importantly, a decision that ends the right of the PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) to keep an eye on the zoning regulations passed by towns, to ensure those regulations don’t supersede state oil and gas regulations. Most of Act 13 is now down the toilet, thanks to four left-wing Democrat judges…

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