Commonwealth Court States Obvious: Allegheny Township Can Plan for Gas

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court just decided a case in Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, that strikes a blow for common sense in applying the law.

The case has an impossibly long name, so I’ll just refer to it as “Allegheny Township.” You can find my highlighted version of it here. It’s 69 pages, but quite readable in most part. It’s an important case because it’s likely to be appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is highly political these days. The very cogent nature of the opinion, which was decided by a vote of five to two by the seven members of the court who participated, will, I hope, convince the Supremes to either not take the case or rule likewise.

The essence of the decision is that municipalities in the Commonwealth are free to plan and zone for natural gas development. Contrary to the views of the Delaware PovertyKeeper and like-minded de-growthers, the Environmental Rights Amendment does not prevent a township from accommodating such development. It’s also a reiteration of a basic principle; that protestants have the burden of proof when they seek to trim or takeaway the property rights of others. Mere speculation of harm is never enough.

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