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.

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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.

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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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