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Pa. Supreme Court won't revisit gas drilling case

By: WJAC Web Staff and The Associated Press

HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvania's highest court said Friday it won't revisit its decision two months ago that struck down a state law that took zoning decisions about natural gas drilling out of the hands of local governments.

The state Supreme Court denied a request by Gov. Tom Corbetts administration to vacate its decision and send it back to a lower court for a new round of briefs and fact-finding.

Instead, the justices are leaving in place the Dec. 19 decision that said new industry-friendly rules violated the state constitution.

The rules put natural gas zoning decisions in control by the legislature, effectively permitting natural gas drilling in any municipality in the commonwealth and giving local municipalities little recourse to not permit drilling in their communities.

Three justices said the restrictions didn't sufficiently protect the environment and the health and safety of people. A fourth justice said the law violated due process rights of municipalities to carry out community planning.

The case now goes to Commonwealth Court for more proceedings.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times