The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kathleen Sutcliffe, Earthjustice, (202) 797-5235

In Fracking Court Fight, Towns Get Legal Help From 20 Groups

Pro-fracking, anti-community state law under fire

Harrisburg, PA

Pennsylvania towns are getting some legal help from 20 groups today in a court case challenging a pro-fracking, anti-community state law.

The case stems from a lawsuit by seven Pennsylvania municipalities and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network challenging the constitutionality of a controversial state law--Act 13--that sought to override local zoning laws related to the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

The nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice filed an amicus brief today on behalf of Berks Gas Truth, Brockway Area Clean Water Alliance, Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, Earthworks, Environmental Defense Fund, Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition of Luzerne County PA, Group Against Smog and Pollution, Pennsylvania Division of the Izaak Walton League, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley Gas Truth, Local Authority Western PA, Marcellus Outreach Butler, Marcellus Protest, PennEnvironment, Responsible Drilling Alliance, Sierra Club, Thomas Merton Center, and Westmoreland Marcellus Citizen's Group, defending the rights of towns to limit the impacts of the fracking-enabled gas drilling boom.

Portions of the Act 13 were overturned in July. It was the third time this year that state courts recognized the rights of local municipalities to limit industrial activities like fracking.

The following is a statement by the groups involved in today's filing:

"Stripping away the rights of local communities to protect themselves from fracking isn't just bad for the environment, it's bad for democracy. The law is clear: local officials have the right to decide what industrial activities are appropriate within their communities. These local decision-makers know what's best for their towns. Not powerful oil and gas companies, nor their bought-and-paid-for state politicians. Today we stand with communities across Pennsylvania--and the country--fighting to preserve their way of life from destructive gas development."

Read the amicus brief.

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.