Court Strikes Down Key Portions of State's Natural Gas Drilling Law

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    Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, stimulates gas production by injecting wells with high volumes of chemical-laced water in order to free-up pockets of natural gas below.

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is striking down provisions that stripped the power that municipalities had over where natural gas drilling activity could occur.

    Thursday's high court decision was four to two.

    The booming gas industry won provisions in a 2012 law that required municipalities to allow drilling, waste pits and pipelines in every zoning district, including residential districts, as long as certain buffers were observed.

    Seven municipalities challenged it, and had won in a lower court.

    One of their lawyers, Jordan Yeager, says it's a victory for local governments, public health and the environment.

    Gov. Tom Corbett and Republican lawmakers had championed the provisions.

    Corbett says he's disappointed with the ruling.

    The first-term Republican said the divided opinion issued Thursday was still under review, and he defended the law as a way to increase environmental regulation.

    He says the law was passed with "strong input and support" from local government organizations.

    The law was pushed through the General Assembly early last year with mostly Republican support.