Natural gas drillers and state lawmakers are trying to get in on the impact fee legal action.
A week after a Commonwealth Court judge issued a limited injunction delaying portions of the new Act 13 law from going into effect, two natural gas drilling-groups and Republican legislative leaders asked to intervene in the suit.
The Post-Gazette has more from today’s Harrisburg hearing:
Drillers stand to lose a predictability and reliability in their business operations that the new law provides by standardizing local zoning rules, argued Walter Bunt, an attorney representing the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, Marcellus Shale Coalition and several drilling companies. He pointed to the leases that have been acquired by companies and could be difficult to develop if they must still navigate a maze of local ordinances.
“This is the most serious and most significant event that [the industry] will encounter with respect to the Marcellus and Utica shale,” Mr. Bunt said of the lawsuit. “The key in any business, just like in life, is to be able to predict what’s going to happen. That business plan is placed into jeopardy by the Act 13 challenge.”
Additionally, an attorney representing Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, and House Speaker Sam Smith, R-Punxsutawney, said the municipal challengers have claimed that lawmakers had certain motives in passing the legislation, and that those involved in drafting the bill should be allowed to respond.
For background on why municipalities are suing to overturn the new law, click here.