Pennsylvania Municipality Support for Legal Challenge to Act 13 Growing

From the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (

Sixty Seven Municipalities Go on Record Opposing Municipal Preemption

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – As the reality of Pennsylvania’s Act 13 sets in at the local level in Pennsylvania, there is a groundswell of disapproval.  In customarily deliberate and carefully considered fashion, municipalities throughout the state are publicly adopting resolutions and sending letters in support of the legal challenge to Act 13, the municipal takeover law that was adopted by the Pennsylvania Legislature and enacted by Governor Corbett’s signature in February 2012.  Act 13 removes municipal zoning of oil and gas operations, weakens environmental protections under the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act, limits physicians’ rights to disclose gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) chemicals that their patients may be exposed to, and establishes an impact fee on natural gas.

To date, at least sixty seven local governing bodies are known to have either adopted a resolution or voted to send a letter in support of the lawsuit that aims to overturn the law based on its unconstitutionality.  The opposition to Act 13 spreads out geographically and includes Marcellus shale regions as well as areas where no drilling is occurring.  Since Act 13 guts municipal rights over all types of natural gas operations – such as drilled gas wells, frack pits, gas pipelines, and natural gas processing facilities — the law has a long reach that pulls in every community, no matter where it is located.  Gas wells, frack pits and other gas and oil-related industrial pollution sources are now pushed into residential districts and right up against day care centers, schools, and shopping districts and municipalities are not allowed to keep them away.

Resolutions/Letters of Support have been adopted by:

Allegheny County

  • Allegheny County Council
  • Ben Avon Borough
  • Findlay
  • Forest Hills
  • Greentree Borough
  • Jefferson Hills Borough
  • Mount Lebanon Borough
  • Monroeville
  • City of Pittsburgh
  • Scott Township
  • South Fayette Township (Party to lawsuit)
  • West Deer Township
  • Whitehall Borough
  • Wilkins Township
  • Wilkinsburg Borough
  • Allegheny County Council

Beaver County

  • Hanover Township
  • South Heights Borough

Berks County

  • Alsace Township
  • Kutztown Borough
  • Lower Alsace Township
  • Maidencreek Township
  • Mount Penn Borough
  • City of Reading
  • West Reading Borough

Bucks County

  • Bridgeton Township
  • Chalfont Borough
  • Doylestown Borough
  • Doylestown Township
  • Falls Township
  • Morrisville Borough
  • Nockamixon Township (Party to lawsuit)
  • Penndel Borough
  • Riegelsville Borough
  • Tinicum Township
  • Tullytown Borough
  • Yardley Borough (Party to lawsuit)

Butler County

  • Buffalo Township
  • Butler Township
  • Harmony Borough
  • Middlesex Township

Chester County

  • City of Coatesville
  • Newlin Township

Delaware County

  • Radnor Township
  • Yeadon Borough

Fayette County

  • City of Connellsville
  • Fayette County Council

Greene County

  • Gray Township

Lackawanna County

  • Lackawanna Association of Boroughs

Luzerne County

  • Black Creek Township
  • Dallas Township
  • Luzerne County Council
  • Sugarloaf Township

Mercer County

  • Springfield Township

Montgomery County

  • East Greenville Borough
  • Upper Moreland Township

Northampton County

  • City of Bethlehem

Washington County

  • Cecil Township
  • East Finley Township
  • Mount Pleasant Township
  • Peters Township
  • Robinson Township
  • South Strabane Township
  • Washington Township

Westmoreland County

  • Ligonier Township
  • Murrysville
  • Upper Burrell Township

In addition, a member of the Westmoreland County Council and the West Jefferson School Director in Allegheny County submitted letters of support.

Seven municipalities and Delaware Riverkeeper Network filed a legal pleading in Commonwealth Court challenging Act 13.  The municipalities are: Township of Robinson, Washington County; Township of Nockamixon, Bucks County; Township of South Fayette, Allegheny County; Peters Township, Washington County; Township of Cecil, Washington County; Mount Pleasant Township, Washington County; and the Borough of Yardley Bucks County.

Act 13 amends the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act, preempting municipal zoning of oil and gas development.  It also establishes an impact fee on natural gas.  The plaintiffs are challenging the new law on the grounds it violates the Pennsylvania and United States Constitutions and endangers public health, natural resources, communities and the environment.  “The Petition for Review in the Nature of a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief” was filed March 29 in Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg. To read the filing:

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