A Pennsylvania court has overturned portions of Act 13, a law which would have given sole authority over where natural gas was drilled to state agencies, removing from municipalities the right to establish zoning laws to limit where hydraulic fracking takes place.
The court’s decision is expected to have wide-ranging impact, as the issue of who has control over fracking is being considered in almost all states where fracking is active. Advocates of the law believe its success would allow for a statewide, uniform zoning system, while critics say the law would allow fracking close to schools, homes, and waterways.
Marcellus Shale Coalition President Kathryn Z. Klaber said, “Lack of uniformity has long been an Achilles’ heel for Pennsylvania and must be resolved if the commonwealth is to remain a leader in responsible American natural gas development and reap the associated economic, environmental and national security benefits.”
John Rumpler, of the environmental advocacy group, Environment America, told the Los Angeles Times, “States are failing to protect communities from fracking and its various impacts, so the only place people can turn is to local government.”
Andy Schrader, Supervisor for Pennsylvania’s Cecil Township, said “We’re not against drilling; we just want it done responsibly.”