Commonwealth Court Upholds Westmoreland County Township’s Ordinance Allowing Natural Gas Drilling

On November 14, Commonwealth Court issued a decision upholding the zoning ordinance of Penn Township in Westmoreland County allowing natural gas drilling in a designated rural resource district with a mineral extraction overlay.

The ordinance was challenged by the environmental group Protect PT who challenged the constitutionality of the overlay district saying gas drilling was incompatible with residential use and preservation of the environment.

Protect PT also said the Township failed to fulfill its fiduciary obligation to protect residents under the state’s Environmental Rights Amendment, even though the zoning ordinance included a provision saying the applicant for a permit under the ordinance must demonstrate how drilling does not violate the Amendment.

The Court said, “By failing to show with credible evidence that UNGD would adversely

affect neighboring property owners in the Resource District, Protect PT failed to establish that the Zoning Ordinance “unreasonably impairs” the rights of Township residents under the ERA [Environmental Rights Amendment]”

Click Here for a copy of the decision.


Commonwealth Court Upholds Westmoreland County Township’s Ruling Allowing Fracking To Continue

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Related Article:

PA Environmental Defense Foundation Files Lawsuit Asking Court To Direct DCNR To Manage State Forests Consistent With Environmental Rights Amendment To Prevent Drilling Impacts

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[Posted: November 15, 2019]


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