Justia Pennsylvania Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Energy, Oil and Gas
Issues of constitutional import stemming from cross-appeals taken from the Commonwealth Court's ruling on expedited challenges to Act 13 of 2012 were before the Supreme Court in this case. Act 13 contained sweeping legislation affecting Pennsylvania’s environment particularly the exploitation and recovery of natural gas in Marcellus Shale. The litigation was accelerated in part because the legislation itself was designed to take effect quickly and imposed obligations which required the challengers to formulate their legal positions swiftly; and in part in recognition of the economic importance of the legislation to the Commonwealth and its citizens. Following careful deliberation, the Supreme Court's decision found several challenged provisions of Act 13 were unconstitutional. Madame Justice Todd, and Mr. Justice McCaffery, found that several core provisions of Act 13 violated the Commonwealth’s duties as trustee of Pennsylvania’s public natural resources under the Environmental Rights Amendment; other challenges lacked merit; and several issues required further Commonwealth Court proceedings. Mr. Justice Baer, concurred in the mandate, and joined the majority in all but Parts III and VI(C); Justice Baer would have found the "core constitutional infirmity" sounded in substantive due process. Accordingly, the Commonwealth Court was affirmed in part, reversed in part, and the case remanded for further proceedings. View "Robinson Township, et al v. Pa. Public Utility Commission and Attorney General -" on Justia Law