Anti-fracking campaigners are cheering a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that “gives new life to people’s environmental rights.”
On Thursday, the Court ruled 4-2 that provisions of the state’s Gov. Corbett-crafted, drilling-friendly Act 13 were unconstitutional.
Act 13, PennLive explains in an editorial,
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“Today’s decision by the State Supreme Court is a huge victory for communities throughout Pennsylvania that have been fighting desperately against the devastating realities of fracking that big oil and gas corporations – and our bought-off governor – have thrust upon them,” Sam Bernhard, Food & Water Watch’s Pennsylvania Organizer, stated.
“This decision is a stark acknowledgement from our top court that fracking is indeed hazardous to public health and the environment, and should therefore be regulated by communities that don’t want it,” Bernhard said.
Thomas Linzey, the Executive Director of the Mercersburg, Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund also cheered the ruling, calling it “a significant victory for municipalities seeking to regulate the placement of oil and gas wells and other structures on the surface of land.”
The ruling also “gives new life to people’s environmental rights, and serves more importantly, in some ways, to shield our communities from a state legislature that has been privatized by certain industries,” Linzey continued.
However, Linzey cautioned, it does not ban fracking in the state, and “there remain tremendous legal barriers in place which subordinate the authority of people, communities, and nature to protect themselves from fracking and the wide range of activities that the state legislature has forced into our municipalities.”
Still, as Bernhard adds, “As we’re seeing from a growing fracking moratorium movement in the State Legislature, there are more and more Pennsylvania communities turning against fracking every day. We are sure to see many of them acting immediately to protect themselves with local legislation against drilling.”