Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down zoning limits on drilling

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is striking down provisions that stripped the power that municipalities had over where natural-gas drilling activity could occur.

Today's high court decision was 4 to 2.

The booming gas industry won provisions in a 2012 law that required municipalities to allow drilling, waste pits and pipelines in every zoning district, including residential districts, as long as certain buffers were observed.

Seven municipalities challenged it, and had won in a lower court. One of their lawyers, Jordan Yeager, says it’s a victory for local governments, public health and the environment.

Gov. Tom Corbett and Republican lawmakers had championed the provisions. A lawyer for Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati says it’s a setback that reopens the door to legal fights the Legislature had tried to settle.

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