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PEDF Files Petition Requesting PA Supreme Court To Enforce Environmental Rights Budget Decision

The PA Environmental Defense Foundation Tuesday filed a petition for extraordinary jurisdiction with the PA Supreme Court to direct Commonwealth Court to obey the June Supreme Court decision declaring transfers from DCNR’s Oil and Gas Fund to balance the state budget unconstitutional based on the Environmental Rights Amendment.

The Court declared the money from the sale of natural resources such as natural gas on Pennsylvania’s public forest and park lands cannot be used to fill gaps in the state budget, PEDF explained.

Under Pennsylvania’s constitution, the PEDF said public forest and park lands are part of a public trust owned by the people of Pennsylvania. The government must protect the natural resources of this public trust and cannot sell them to balance the budget, as it has done since 2009.

To date, more than $1.1 billion from the sale of public natural resources has been used to fill gaps in the state budget.

After the PA Supreme Court’s June decision, the Court returned the case to the Commonwealth Court with direction to address the issues raised by the Foundation consistent with the high court’s ruling.

PEDF said Commonwealth Court has not taken any action to date and the latest budget, which was finalized after the high court’s ruling, spends at least $96 million from the sale of public natural resources to pay general government expenses for the current budget year.

Yet the budget just finalized for this fiscal year continues this trend, PEDF said.

The Foundation argues in its filing that without the high court’s oversight, the government will not heed its ruling and will continue to degrade public forest and park natural resources to balance the budget. New budget negotiations for the upcoming fiscal year begin in February.

Click Here for a copy of the petition.


PEDF Asks PA Supreme Court To Back Up Its Environmental Rights Amendment Order

Related Story:

PEDF Files Petition Urging Court To Declare New Transfers Of Monies From Oil & Gas Fund Unconstitutional, $1.1 Billion At Stake

[Posted: Jan. 2, 2018]


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