Pa. Court Limits Gas Drilling Law's Reach

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    TK
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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.

    A Pennsylvania court says a state agency cannot review how local zoning restrictions affect the natural gas industry, but it's leaving intact other parts of a 2012 law that modernized drilling regulations.

    Commonwealth Court on Thursday threw out the Public Utility Commission's power to withhold drilling fee revenue from municipalities whose zoning it deems to illegally restrict drilling activity.
     
    The decision follows December's state Supreme Court ruling that said the law couldn't strip local zoning authority over drilling activity.

    The new decision upholds limits on what doctors can reveal about the proprietary contents of hydraulic fracturing solutions.

    It also refuses to require the state to notify private water users of potential drilling contamination and rejects the argument that the law authorized illegal private eminent domain for natural gas pipelines and storage.