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Discussion Starter #1
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's long-awaited ruling on the state's two-year-old Marcellus Shale law has declared parts of it unconstitutional, reaffirming local municipalities' rights to zoning when it comes to natural gas drilling.

The court's 4-2 decision agreed with municipalities' concerns about Act 13's prohibition on local regulation of gas wells and went against the commonwealth's role as trustee of natural resources. It said Act 13 "fundamentally disrupted" expectations of Pennsylvania residents who lived in residential zones, and that the General Assembly "transgressed" its powers both constitutionally and with the Environmental Rights Amendment.


The court said four sections violated the Environmental Rights Amendment. The ruling said Act 13 in part "swept aside" some parts of the constitution that had to do with municipalities' rights to regulate in existing zoning.

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"To describe this case simply as a zoning or agency discretion matter would not capture the essence of the parties' fundamental dispute regarding Act 13," the ruling said. "Rather, at its core, this dispute centers upon an asserted vindiction of citizens' rights to quality of life on their properties and in their hometowns, insofar as Act 13 threatens degredation of air and water, and of natural, scenic and esthetic values of the environment, with attendant effects on health, safety and the owners' continued enjoyment of their private property."

But in a dissent, Saylor wrote Act 13 was nothing more than the Legislature's exercise of power that helps both the economic and environmental interests. Eakin's dissent said municipalities have the power to manage land use, but it's not in the constitution and instead granted by the Legislature, which can take it away and balance local needs against the commonwealth's economy and the nation's desire for energy......


More.....

http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2013/12/19/supreme-court-declares-part-of-act-13.html
 

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This is great news for local municipalities to continue to watch out for its citizens and not be overridden by a bought out and sold out state govt... Govenor Corporate got a slap in his arrogant face today and its well deserved..... If townships choose to have drilling so be it, if not its the choice of that township not a Harrisburg drone. Good call by the court, restores some of my faith in govt.... As long as drilling is proven safe, the citizens are being compensated fairly (IE- Cheesapeake ), and we are seeing jobs (yet to be proven substantially ) then lets roll with it...... Although we still need to address the severance tax..
 

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This is the loss of private property rights of landowners to ignorant local governments that are against drilling. Sad day when a person can't use there own property because of untrue safety and health concerns.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
In essence the court removed the legislatures ability to change a home rule allowance once enacted.

The dissent is interesting.

Without commenting on the decision reasons , complaints, or other factors, I would think the court itself may have committed an unconstitutional act by denying the legislature its natural ability to -..... legislate.

Home rule is granted by the legislature within the legislative process. So, they can change, limit, or retract that same authority. Until now so it seems.

One must now wonder if any legislative change to an enacted law could be challenged on the same reasoning?
 
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