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Local Versus State Drilling Regulations Battle Seems Headed To Pa. Supreme Court

(file photo) (credit: SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)

(file photo) (credit: SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – The battle over the state’s attempt to supersede local regulations for natural gas drilling operations appears headed for the state Supreme Court, now that a lower court has overturned part of a state law passed earlier this year.

Commonwealth Court has ruled that the portion of a new state law restricting local governments’ ability to regulate natural gas drilling is unconstitutional. Environmentalists and other opponents of the law hailed the ruling, calling the law an example of “overreaching” in an attempt to promote a particular industry.

But, Stephen Miskin, spokesman for the House Republican leader, says it’s a simple matter of state sovereignty.

“You know, the local municipalities are a creation of the state. And thus, to say that the state doesn’t have any right over that – it’s not in the state constitution.”

Miskin says he believes the ruling will be appealed to the state Supreme Court. A spokesman for the top Republican in the Senate says he doesn’t think anyone believed the case wouldn’t end up in the high court.

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