FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hanna applauds court decision to overturn Marcellus Shale zoning preemption
Commonwealth Court scores a win for Pennsylvanians, strikes down core components of Act 13
HARRISBURG, July 26 – State Rep. Mike Hanna today applauded the Commonwealth Court for its decision, issued today, which struck down key pieces of Act 13 – the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling law signed by Gov. Tom Corbett in February.
“This is a huge victory for the people of Pennsylvania,” Hanna said. “With this decision, the Commonwealth Court made it clear what many of us already knew – that Governor Corbett and his allies in the General Assembly went too far in their efforts to cater to the out-of-state, multibillion-dollar oil and gas industry.”
Among the most controversial provisions of Act 13 is language that allows the state to preempt local municipalities’ zoning laws, effectively nullifying zoning protections for every community in Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth Court today ruled that provision to be unconstitutional and permanently barred the state from enforcing it.
The court also overturned a provision in Act 13, which allowed the state Department of Environmental Protection to grant waivers to drilling companies from critical environmental setback requirements meant to protect lakes, rivers, streams and other public waterways.
Hanna noted that state House Democrats have been fighting these provisions, and other negative aspects of the Corbett drilling law, since it became law.
In May, House Democrats introduced the Marcellus Compact, six bills designed to fix the worst flaws of the Marcellus Shale law – including restoring municipal zoning rights and strengthening environmental protections. Hanna sponsored one of those bills, H.B. 2413, which would provide real tax fairness to Pennsylvanians through a fair and reasonable statewide fee for drilling companies.
“From the beginning, House Democrats have been on the right side of these issues,” Hanna said. “The Commonwealth Court decision affirms that, but it still leaves the vast majority of Act 13 in place. That’s why I’m going to continue to push for passage of the Marcellus Compact.
“It’s clear Governor Corbett was more interested in bending over backwards for the big oil and gas conglomerates than in protecting Pennsylvanians,” Hanna continued. “It’s time to change the mindset in Harrisburg. It’s time to put Pennsylvanians first.”
CONTACT: Brett Marcy
House Democratic Caucus