Local Zoning Laws Remain in Place for the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Industry - For Now

This post was written by Nicolle Bagnell and Luke Liben

When Pennsylvania’s new Marcellus Shale drilling law (known as Act 13) goes into effect on April 14, the section that preempts local drilling ordinances will be temporarily put on hold. Although Act 13 specifically overrides local zoning laws related to oil and gas operations, yesterday the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court granted an injunction of the enactment of all provisions addressing the state’s preemption of oil and gas zoning laws. In the matter Robinson Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 284 M.D. 2012, the court issued a 120-day injunction that will extend the time period that municipalities have to craft new ordinances to comply with Act 13. The plaintiffs in the case, mostly municipal officials and two individuals, stated that the injunction was necessary to avoid any uncertainty that would otherwise arise in this 120-day period. No other aspects of Act 13 will be affected by the injunction.


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