Pennsylvania supreme court strikes key lax fracking law.

Guardian: “The energy industry and policy makers in Pennsylvania, the heart of the nation’s gas drilling boom, are thinking about their next moves after the state’s highest court threw out significant portions of a law that limited the power of cities and counties to regulate the industry.” “The state supreme court voted 4-2 on Thursday to strike down portions of a 2012 law that had been crafted by governor Tom Corbett and his industry-friendly allies in the legislature.
….The high court’s decision comes as the energy industry is increasingly able to harvest oil and gas from those previously unreachable formations and, as a result, is bumping up against suburban and urban expectations of land use in states including Texas, Colorado and Ohio, where a similar legal challenge is under way.
The court majority said the law violated the state constitution, although they issued different opinions about why.
….In New York, where state officials essentially put MarcellusShale drilling on hold, state courts are currently deciding whether local governments have the right to ban the industry from operating within their borders.
The law restricted local municipalities’ ability to control where companies may place rigs, waste pits, pipelines and compressor and processing stations. The new zoning rules never went into effect because of a court order. A narrowly divided lower court struck them down in 2012, but Corbett appealed, saying lawmakers have clear authority to override local zoning.
Among the objectionable provisions cited by the lawsuit were requirements that drilling, waste pits and pipelines be allowed in every zoning district, including residential, as long as certain buffers were observed.”