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Immediate Injunction Request Filed in Marcellus Shale Lawsuit

Today, the municipalities involved in the lawsuit to overturn the newly enacted marcellus shale law filed a request for an immediate injunction to prevent the law from going into effect on April 14th.

On the injunction request, the President of the Marcellus Shale Commission, Kathryn Klaber said, “The overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians support the safe and responsible development of our natural gas resources. This lawsuit, filed by a vocal minority – some of whom are represented by a New York City-based attorney – lacks legal merit and should be dismissed. The men and women of Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry, who live and work in the communities where we operate, are committed to responsibly developing this clean-burning and affordable energy resource for the benefit of 12.7 million Pennsylvanians and the nation. Nothing will distract us from that commitment.”

Parties to the lawsuit include seven municipalities: Cecil, Peters, Mt. Pleasant and Robinson of Washington County, Yardley and Nockamixon of Bucks County, and South Fayette of Allegheny County.

Dr. Mehernosh Kosh and environmentalists of the Delaware River Network are also suing.

The parties are primarily concerned with those provisions of the legislation that limit the rights of local governments.  According to Marcellus Drilling News, the law “disallows local PA municipalities from passing zoning laws that are specifically aimed at preventing shale gas drilling.”  Local officials worry that citizens will suffer from construction related to drilling, specifically in residential areas.

The group is requesting an immediate injunction to stop enactment of the Act 13 law.  They claim the act creates a “one-size-fits-all” zoning regulation applicable statewide, one the townships believe is far too broad.

When Corbett signed Act 13 on February 14, he viewed this very complaint as a positive aspect of the new law, stating that it allows for “increased uniformity and fairness of local regulations while preserving local government’s traditional zoning authority.”

Pittsburgh City Council President Darlene Harris supports the law’s opponents:

“The oil and gas industry is engaged in drilling campaigns in Pennsylvania, and has unduly influenced state elected officials, enabling them to provide the legislation for a path of least resistance to the riches that lie beneath the Commonwealth.”

4 Responses

  1. Thank you, Cecil, Peters, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson, Yardley, Nockamixon and South Fayette, as well as Dr. Mehernosh Kosh and the Delaware River Network. Especially, thanks to “New York City-based attorney” John Smith. We taxpaying citizens of PA need leaders to protect us from the O&G lobby’s unbridled influence on campaign finance. And since (most of) OUR elected leaders won’t do it…

  2. this is the same guy who comments in the paper in Washington County. interesting the write brings up “dividing their communities” when that’s exactly what this suit does. The guys involved in this have been showing up at other townships and begging towns to join the suit, and they spread false information when doing it. So who is really dividing the communities? And actually, South Fayette has tried to ban drilling. Get your facts straight.

  3. And that “New York City-based attorney” is a constitutional law professor at Columbia University, and the lead attorney on the case, John Smith, is doing the legal work at NO CHARGE to the municipalities. Can the hired guns for the gas industry say the same?

  4. The Marcellus Shale Coalition should be ashamed of the propaganda they’re spreading in this article. None of the municipalities involved have banned drilling; they’re just sick of the bullying tactics dividing their communities so companies like Range Resources can increase their profit margin. It’s the Wild West out here, and the marcellus shale industry has no one to blame but themselves due to their lies, manipulation and intimidation tactics.

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