Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Robinson Township v. Commonwealth - The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania Overturns the Zoning Section of Act 13.

On July 26th, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania declared the zoning portion of Act 13, which had been codified as 58 P.S. § 3304, unconstitutional.  In March, Robinson Township challenged the constitutionality of Act 13’s statutory regulation of oil and gas operations which they allege overrides local regulations, preventing communities from fulfilling their constitutional obligation to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens. The Commonwealth responded by alleging that Robinson Township lacks standing, that the question posed is a non-justiciable political question, and that Robinson Township fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. The Court held the zoning portion of Act 13 unconstitutional because it gave DEP the power to make legislative policy judgments and did not provide sufficient guidance when granting waivers.

Written by Joseph Negaard, Research Assistant
Penn State Law, Agricultural Law Center
July 31, 2012

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