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Hydraulic Fracturing Forces a Historic Decision In Pennsylvania

October 4, 2012

On October 17th 2012 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear a case that was heard earlier this year by a lower court involving Pa. Act 13 and was ruled unconstitutional. Act 13 is a law that takes away zoning rights for townships, municipalities, and counties, when comes to Drilling Marcellus Shale.

Earlier this year on February 14th Governor Corbett signed Pa house bill 1950 into law in a quite signing. With that swipe of a pen He and drilling companies such as Range, and Chesapeake, almost got away with crippling Pennsylvania property rights. However, thanks to a few of the municipalities in the State, a lawsuit was failed to remove the Zoning section of Act 13.


A set of mostly southwestern Pennsylvania municipalities filed suit challenging the law, arguing that having gas wells and compressor stations in all zoning districts would inhibit their abilities to protect residents.

In addition to the zoning section, the court decision also struck down a provision allowing the DEP to grant waivers to the required distance between a well pad and a water source.

On the zoning provision, attorneys for the DEP and PUC point in part to comments from President Judge Dan Pellegrini at an Aug. 15 hearing, in which he said he looked at other states and found they did not pre-empt local zoning for gas drilling.

With the hearing on October 17th it will be decided whether or not to override the courts ruling and allow the state and gas companies pre-empt local zoning laws and allow drilling and the building of compressor stations in all zones.

The easiest way to explain what this means is; If Act 13 is allowed to stand as it was written the drilling companies can put pads and compressor stations in residential zones next to schools, churches, and, houses.

If the court sticks with its latest ruling, municipalities, towns, cities, and counties, remain the zoning authority and retain the capability to protect their citizenry.

A Few Thoughts

Also if the prevision allowing government agencies such as the EPA to grant waivers to the drilling companies Act 13 might as well stand because these agencies have shown that they side with the industry.

In most cases I would say the people of the state got what they deserve because Corbett said, he was for the gas companies, that he would cut education, and community services. And still they voted him in to office. However, with a republican majority he has proven himself unstoppable especially when it comes to the gas industry.

If you want proof this bill is for the industry, all you have to do is READ IT. It is full of give a ways to the gas companies. Why shouldn’t it be, the Gas Companies basically wrote it. Don’t believe me, here is the text of Act 13/Pa.HB1950. In my opinion, anyone who voted Yea, on this should be removed from office especially Corbett. This bill is not for the people in any way, shape or form. This bill is for the industry 110%.

Of course if you are like me you want the baby without the pain., so I will give a few examples from an article written by Pennsylvania Rep. Jesse White, in the Patch. This is why Jesse voted no on this bill.

Industry Giveaways, Money for a “Housing Affordability Programs,” which means we will be paying for temporary housing for workers from out of state who will no longer be staying in our hotels. There are subsidies for natural gas vehicle programs the industry apparently couldn’t afford to do without a government handout. And there is a massive direct cash giveaway intended to go to the Shell Oil Corp., which had a profit of more than $20 billion in 2010.

No Local Control {ed note} I explained above.

Inadequate Protection for Leaseholders
House Bill 1950 is not a good bill for natural gas leaseholders. Despite claims that the tax cannot be passed onto leaseholders, I’m not convinced that some companies won’t try to do just that—after all, they’re the ones who basically wrote the bill.

Additionally, most people who signed leases did so under the assumption that they had certain protections under the law, but now the law has been changed from underneath them. When a company wants to put an impoundment or compressor station where it’s best for their profit margin, there will be virtually no way to stop them.

Please read the whole article I have just put enough of what “I” felt was appropriate to show why the bill needs changed of totally shot down.

Also all of the comments I have read from these articles I have read call us (the ones that see the bill for what it is.) Hippies, Whiny ass liberals, and a variation of Tree Hugger (having intercourse with a tree), I hope they are the ones (if Act13 is allowed to stand as written) get the first pad or compressor station set outside their front door.


One Comment leave one →
  1. October 28, 2012 4:54 pm

    Together these cases illustrate several key principles with regard to municipal regulatory efforts: (1) they can restrict the location of oil and gas wells and associated facilities to particular zoning districts; (2) they cannot adopt a comprehensive regulatory scheme that parallels state law; and (3) they cannot single out the oil and gas industry for regulatory treatment different from that applied to other uses. On the other hand, the Huntley & Huntley and Range Resources decisions are equally significant for what they did not say about the Act’s preemption of municipal regulation. For instance, it remains unclear whether a municipality can impose well setbacks from property lines or habitable structures different from those imposed under the Act. It is also unclear how and to what extent municipalities can permissibly regulate noise. In light of the questions not answered by the Supreme Court, municipalities should be cognizant of the preemption issue as they evaluate possible measures to regulate oil and gas activities in their jurisdictions. Oil and gas companies likewise need to recognize that drilling and related activities in Pennsylvania potentially can be subject to multiple layers of government regulation.


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