Municipalites Fight for Rights
Yesterday, local officials from twelve counties across the state submitted a letter the the Pennsylvania legislature urging them to protect their local zoning rights. HB1950 and SB1100 include legislative proposals restricting local authority concerning Marcellus Shale gas drilling. Both bills are expected to be voted on this week.
See the press coverage below:
In a conference call Monday, signatories to the General Assembly letter and environmental groups said the pre-emption clauses in the bills amount to a “power grab” by the state.
“The proposed legislation is, in effect, stating that the development of natural gas is so paramount that industry should have the option to pursue it anywhere at any time,” Earthworks Marcellus region representative Nadia Steinzor said, “even if it’s at the expense of the other uses of the land and priorities such as quality of life and public health and what communities want.”
The bills would eliminate or severely restrict the ability of local governments to enact zoning ordinances applicable to Marcellus Shale gas drilling operations and establish a standard “model” ordinance that all townships would have to follow.
The Marcellus Shale drilling industry has supported the state legislation that would supersede local zoning ordinances, and it has challenged some existing local ordinances in court.