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Pa. Supreme Court Strikes Down Part Of Marcellus Shale Drilling Law

(The state capitol in Harrisburg.  File photo)

(The state capitol in Harrisburg. File photo)

(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 state Supreme Court has struck down portions of a controversial law governing natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale regions.

The state Supreme Court has ruled in favor of local governments whose ability to regulate natural gas drilling and extraction was limited by a law enacted in 2012. And Drew Crompton, counsel for the top Republican in the GOP-controlled Senate, says the high court has directed a lower court to decide whether or not provisions of the act can stand on their own.

If not, he says the impact fees on gas drillers that were imposed as part of the law are in jeopardy. “If the whole act falls, then obviously a core element of the act is the collection of the impact fees, which in the last two years have collected $200 million per year.” Crompton calls the decision “incredibly disappointing”.

But, the Sierra Club says it is a victory for local communities, whose interests the Corbett administration has “consistently put behind that of the oil and gas industry.”

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