Thursday, April 12, 2012

PA Commonwealth Court Grants Preliminary Injunction Concerning New Oil and Gas Law Zoning Provision

On April 11, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court granted petitioners motion for preliminary injunction concerning the enactment of Pennsylvania's new oil and gas law, Act 13.  The order only enjoins the zoning provision in the act, Section 3309, from taking effect for 120 days.  Petitioners motion for preliminary injunction was denied as it relates to the remainder of the act.  The court pointed out that the constitutionality of Act 13 was not presently before the court.  The court stated that the original period of 120 days under the act to amend local zoning ordinances to comply with Act 13 was not sufficient.  Further, the court stated that "municipalities must have an adequate opportunity to pass zoning laws that comply with Act 13 without fear or risk that development of oil and gas operations under Act 13 will be inconsistent with later validly passed local zoning ordinance.  For that reason, per-existing ordinances must remain in effect until or unless challenged pursuant to Act 13 and are found to be invalid .  To the extent that Chapter 33 or any other provision of Act 13 may be interpreted to immediately pre-empt pre-existing local ordinances, a preliminary injunction is issued pending further order of Court."

Click here to read the Commonwealth Court Order

Click here to read the petition for preliminary injunction

Written by Dan McGraw, Research Assistant
April 12, 2012

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