State Supreme Court won’t revisit gas drilling
HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania’s highest court said Friday it would not revisit its decision striking down a state law that took zoning decisions about natural gas drilling out of the hands of local governments.
The state Supreme Court denied a request by Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration to vacate its decision and send it back to a lower court for a new round of briefs and fact-finding process.
Instead, the justices left in place the Dec. 19 decision that said new industry-friendly rules violated the state constitution.
Three justices said the restrictions didn’t sufficiently protect the environment and the health and safety of people. A fourth justice said the law violated due process rights of municipalities to carry out community planning.
There are still unresolved issues, however, and the case now goes back to Commonwealth Court for additional proceedings. One question is whether parts of the law that were not invalidated can remain in force, including a tax on drillers that has generated hundreds of millions of dollars.