Rep. George Applauds Court Ruling on Act 13 Zoning Legality
HARRISBURG- State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 of Clearfield County, applauds the Commonwealth Court’s ruling that struck down provisions in Pennsylvania’s Act 13 Marcellus shale gas law that obstructed local zoning protections.
“I feared that Pennsylvanians seeking responsible Marcellus safeguards would run out of words — such as unfair, inadequate and slanted — to describe Act 13,” said George, Democratic chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. “However, the court gave us one more – unconstitutional.”
Although the ruling likely will be appealed, George said legislation is prepared and vetted that would address the unconstitutional aspects of Act 13.
“My Protec tPA legislation, House Bill 1800, includes no language that would impinge on municipalities’ already limited powers to regulate industrial gas drilling,” George said. “The Marcellus Compact, specifically House Bill 2412, would restore local governments’ rights to determine the nature of their communities.”
Minutes before the court ruling was released, George said he signed on as a sponsor of Republican proposal that would end the mandate that distance restrictions for drilling operations be waived under certain conditions.
“There is nothing ‘reasonable’ about Act 13’s mandate to communities that they allow reasonable development of oil and gas resources,” George said. “Commonwealth Court seemingly agrees, and the ruling is just the latest evidence that the sweetheart deal for the gas industry is a bad deal for Pennsylvania.
“Arguments that a lack of zoning uniformity will jeopardize Marcellus development in Pennsylvania are specious,” George said. “Texas– a leader in natural gas development – has neither pre-emption of local zoning nor forced pooling.”