When Act 13 was signed into law by former PA Governor Tom Corbett on February 14, 2012, it contained language which would override all local ordinances and enactments of standards pertaining to the natural gas industry activities. Such ordinances or standards would have been set by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to “maintain consistency and uniformity”.
Seven Pennsylvania municipalities fought back and filed a lawsuit. By July 2012, the Commonwealth Courts struck down the statewide zoning provisions of the Act 13 as unconstitutional under both the Pennsylvania and the U.S. Constitution.
It was appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and in December 2013, the court upheld the previous decision, which allowed municipalities to set their own ordinances.
If you thought this was the end of it – you were wrong.
In a House Co-Sponsored Memoranda dated December 30, 2014, Representative Seth Grove (R-YORK parts) writes: (emphasis added)
Posted: December 30, 2014 01:11 PM
From: Representative Seth Grove
To: All House members
Subject: Consistent Environment Regulations Rules and Regulations (Former House Bill 2115)
In the near future, I plan on reintroducing House Bill 2115 from the 2013-2014 session to create consistent regulatory standards for natural resources and environmental protection in the issuance of permits required by the Commonwealth.
Currently, businesses who are required to have environmental permits are hindered by state and local government environmental rules and regulatory standards which are inconsistent and ambiguous. These multiple rules create difficulties and obstacles for businesses to perform their work while complying with different rules.
The legislation I will be introducing will enable DEP to enforce clear, consistent, and transparent set of environmental rules and regulations throughout the permitting process. These rules and regulations will preempt all local ordinances. By enabling businesses to comply with a single set of rules and regulations will help to create an open, consistent, and compliant working environment between government and businesses. Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.
Previous Cosponsors Grell, Gingrich, Murt, Moul
If you have questions, please contact Jordan Grant by phone at (717) 767 3947 or by email at Jgrant@pahousegop.com
House Bill 167: An Act amending the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175), known as The Administrative Code of 1929, providing for effect of permit issued by Department of Environmental Protection was referred to the Environmental Resources and Energy committee on January 23, 2015.
EXCERPT (emphasis added):
Regular Session 2015-2016
House Bill 167
In order to maintain consistency and uniformity of the regulation of standards for natural resources and environmental protection throughout this Commonwealth, when a permit is required from the department in order to conduct a regulated activity within this Commonwealth and the department issues the permit, the provisions of the permit shall supersede all local ordinances and enactments purporting to establish standards for natural resources and environmental protection which are in conflict with the department’s regulatory oversight of an activity or the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth.
This section preempts the regulation of all local ordinances and enactments which set standards for natural resource and environmental protection in activities for which permits have been issued or are issued by the department.
All of that being said, you know what to do – write, call, email, fax and call your legislators and local officials – tell them NO to HB 167.
© 2014 by Dory Hippauf