Thanks - am doing some writing about ACT 31 and how they are distributing grants but also read how it was taken to the state supreme court and the decision was tied - but it appears they are taking the money and distributing it anyhow....

Please update me on what you may know.


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Act 13?

Pretty sure she meant Act 13.

Pennsylvania Act 13 - Pa. HB1950

The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed HB1950 by a narrow margin in early February 2012, and Act 13 was signed into law February 14, 2012 by Governor Tom Corbett.  Did legislators really know what they were voting for as this legislation was rushed through?  The local zoning provisions take effect in mid-April and give municipalities 120 days to comply. Industry had argued they needed a standardized statewide township ordinance, while the resulting Act is considered onerous by many, since it essentially strips local municipalities of their zoning rights, as noted in Go Marcells Shale.


A prime example is that Act 13 permits drilling and fracking in all zones, including close to homes in residential zones.

Another area of serious contention regards the restrictions placed on Pennsylvania health care professionals. It violates some of the basic tenets Pennsylvania doctors are sworn to uphold regarding public health. Pennsylvania doctors have been 'gagged' by the legislation when it comes to sharing critical information, as pointed out in this legal opinion: 

Health professionals who are authorized to share Secret Information are likely to be responsible for ensuring that all persons receiving the information understand that it may not be communicated to anyone (except, perhaps, regulatory officials) not involved in the patient’s diagnosis and treatment. In a medical emergency, the health professional thus must ensure that a patient receiving life-saving Secret Information understands that the information may not be disclosed to others who may be at risk, including family members. If the Secret Information is released by persons who learned it from a health professional, and the health professional cannot prove that he or she exercised reasonable care to prevent those persons from divulging the information, the professional could be liable for damages resulting from the disclosure.” Excerpt from May 2012 opinion by EarthJustice


NEW ACT 13 DISPUTE  August 23, 2013 - HARRISBURG

…The state Public Utility Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection appealed a lower court ruling against a provision in the impact fee law limiting the ability of local governments to control the location of gas drilling activity. A coalition of several townships and Maya Van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, argue that the law's effort to limit local zoning powers is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court heard arguments on the appeal last fall when it was tied 3-3 between judges of Republican and Democratic affiliation and has yet to issue an opinion.



December 10, 2012 - No matter how the state Supreme Court rules in its review of Pennsylvania‘s oil and gas laws, lawyers and municipal governments likely will be busy. Experts predict months more legal maneuvering and maybe more drilling industry pressure on lawmakers after the court rules on Act 13, a decision that could occur any day. Legal fights could result, experts say, whether or not the court rules for the municipalities fighting the state, including five Pittsburgh suburbs.

In the spring, South Fayette, Cecil, Peters and Mt. Pleasant and Robinson in Washington County led a group that sued to strike down parts of the law the Legislature passed in February. The case focused on strict limits placed on municipal governments‘ role in managing where and when drilling can happen. Commonwealth Court agreed with their arguments in July, ruling 4-3 that Act 13 unconstitutionally forced industrial land-use standards on residential areas. Four of the six remaining Supreme Court justices would have to side with the state to overturn that decision and reinstate the law.TribLive

Under Act 13, the drillers are assessed a fee for every well.  Those fee monies are then distributed to municipalities under a complex formula that allocates the vast majority of those funds to munies that have been directly affected by drilling. This means the areas with lots of wells gets more of the money to reimburse them for additional costs associated with drilling like additional road work, inspections, traffic control, permitting, hearings and more. I am assuming that is what she meant by "grants."

Jim - what about the 'zoning' issue raised in Act 13 as noted in the info posted previously?   They basically eliminate zoning boards and landowners rights?

Linda A; That is a loaded question.  It could be said that Act 13 restored landowner's rights as it prevents zoning boards from prohibiting a landowner from developing his mineral/gas rights. Anti-fractivists often get on boards to stop development. I know many areas with zoning laws that are very restrictive of landowner rights and should be reigned in.

Nat gas extraction is very less impactful on a neighborhood than mining but some people would classify it under the same regulations.

THEY are calling them grants as there was an application process and a committee decided to whom to award and how much...

It's being distributed here in Crawford County, finalized today - just finished a news story on it today...

"With a total of $148,636 from state and local funds, the committee, utilizing a formula, presented the names of the recipients, along with recommended monies for consideration, and the Crawford County Commissioners voted on accepting the recommendations on December 5th, 2013".

what is act 31?


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