PITTSBURGH (AP) — The natural gas industry and environmentalists in Pennsylvania both had reasons to cheer and jeer in 2013 over the boom in Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.
Environmentalists were heartened by a state Supreme Court ruling at the end of the year that rejected significant portions of industry-friendly legislation. The state’s highest court ruled that Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration had gone too far in passing a law that gives the industry the right to operate almost anywhere it wants to, even if local municipalities object.
The justices also ruled that lower courts had erred by upholding a cumbersome set of restrictions on doctors who need information about chemicals used in the drilling process. The rulings were seen as a big win for environmentalists but won’t do much to change the gas that’s flowing from over 4,000 wells that are already producing.
The ruling also doesn’t mean new drilling will stop everywhere, since many communities welcome the jobs and royalty payments that come with drilling.
Not only that, gas continued to flow in record amounts.