In a recent case, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held that certain municipal regulations of gas drilling could not be challenged directly in state court but rather were under the exclusive jurisdiction of the municipal board. As such, these regulations could only be challenged by application to the municipal government and a hearing before the applicable municipal government board, followed by possible appeal to state court. The result is a potentially longer time for review of validity challenges to local ordinances involving gas drilling, unless the challenged ordinance is clearly an operational regulation. For a summary of this case click here.
Archive for the 'Municipal and Zoning' Category
In a carefully reasoned decision the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has erased the decades-long assumption that gas wells were exempt from zoning. The Oil and Gas Act contains a provision which has long been assumed to provide that municipal zoning was superseded or preempted from regulating the location of gas wells. More than half of Pennsylvania’s 2,500+ municipal government exercise zoning power. It was previously believed that, due to the wide-ranging regulation of the gas exploration industry by the Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection, municipal governments were left with little control. Now, every gas well must be reviewed for its conformance to the zoning district and use provisions of municipal zoning ordinances. Read a fuller explanation of the case, Huntley & Huntley v. the Borough Council of the Borough of Oakmont, here.