Judge Keith Quigley of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court granted a preliminary injunction enjoining key provisions of Act 13, including provisions that override local land use ordinances that impose restrictions on natural gas exploration. The Commonwealth Court order stated, “[T]he Court concludes that there is an immediate and irreparable risk of harm to the municipalities that development of oil and gas operations under Act 13 may be incompatible with later validly passed zoning ordinances.”
Students in the Environmental Law Clinic represent local, regional, and national environmental and community organizations working to solve critical environmental challenges. In this case, the Clinic represents a group of petitioners that includes several Pennsylvania municipalities and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
In the coming months, the Clinic will litigate the merits of the constitutional challenge, seeking a permanent injunction and declaratory relief, arguing that Act 13 is an invalid and unconstitutional exercise of the state’s police power.
"Our clients are particularly vulnerable if this statute goes into effect, and we are working hard to provide some check against a completely irrational policy that was only adopted by Pennsylvania's legislators as a result of intense lobbying by the oil and gas industry,” said Brian Mulhall ’13. “My work on the Act 13 litigation provides a great opportunity to take what I am learning at Columbia Law School and see it translate into real world results.”