Two Bucks towns join lawsuit agains state drilling law

    It’s becoming and out and out battle — over zoning regulations.

    Seven municipalities have joined a suit against Pennsylvania’s new natural gas drilling law, including Yardley and Nockamixon in Bucks County. The Pennsylvania law is best known for enacting an impact fee, a levy counties could collect for every producing gas well, but it law also set statewide regulations for drillers, which supersede local rules limiting where companies can put in a well. “It’s just appalling. I can’t tell you how appalled I am,” said Karen Alessi, a supervisor in Nockamixon. “The idea that they have taken away the control of our town.”Jordan Yeager, the lawyer representing Nockamixon and Yardley, as well as the Delaware Riverkeeper, says towns should be able to regulate whether to allow activities such as drilling into areas zoned for residential or other uses.”It’s such a broad sweep … attack at local control that we’re optimistic that the court is going to recognize that they just went too far,” Yeager said.Eric Shirk, a Corbett administration spokesman, said the state is “confident the law will withstand judicial scrutiny.”Natural gas drilling companies say it would be unworkable to have regulations that vary town to town and county to county.

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