Municipalities ask Pennsylvania Supreme Court to let Act 13 ruling stand

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Seven Pennsylvania municipalities today asked the state Supreme Court to deny a Corbett administration request to reconsider its order declaring unconstitutional the “drill anywhere” provision of the state’s  oil and gas law.

The municipalities say in a 15-page response that the court’s Dec. 19 decision was based on a purely legal determination that the law’s provisions overriding local zoning were unconstitutional, so there is no need to review additional factual evidence and findings that the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Public Utility Commission now want to introduce on appeal.

“This wasn’t a factual case with evidence,” said John Smith, co-counsel for the municipalities. “It was a pure matter of law and they even argued that, to the Commonwealth Court, that the factual record was of no relevance.”

In an appeal filed Jan. 2, those state entities and the governor’s Office of General Counsel asked the Supreme Court for an opportunity to reargue the case and introduce evidence it did not provide the court prior to its decision. In filing for the appeal, the Public Utility Commission and Department of Environmental Protection asked that the case be remanded or returned to Commonwealth Court for development of the evidentiary record.

“They’ve lost on the law question, so now they want to reargue on the facts,” Mr. Smith said.

A spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett could not immediately be reached.

The seven municipalities are South Fayette, Peters, Mount Pleasant and Robinson townships in Washington County, and Nockamixon and Yardley in Bucks County in Eastern Pennsylvania.


Don Hopey: dhopey@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1983.

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