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Friday, December 20, 2013

John Hanger praises PA Supreme Court Act 13 decision

John Hanger praises PA Supreme Court Act 13 decision

Decision restores balance between protecting communities and gas drilling

Harrisburg – John Hanger today praised the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision striking down some key provisions of Act 13, the law that regulates gas drilling. Hanger said that the Court’s ruling that local governments do have the ability to manage the impacts of drilling in their communities is the right ruling.

“The Court’s decision simply reaffirms that local governments can use their zoning powers to separate residential uses from industrial uses as was the case before the passage of Act 13,” said Hanger. “Now local governments can protect the health, safety and property values of their residents who reasonably expected that they would not find themselves living next to an intensely industrial activity when they purchased property in a residential zone.”

“This decision is also a direct rejection of Governor Corbett’s policy of turning over the Commonwealth to the control of the gas drillers,” said Hanger. “This governor has shown no leadership in guiding gas drilling policies because he has no independence from the gas industry. The Corbett Administration was bought and paid for by the gas industry, and the Supreme Court has now restored some balance between the drillers and the people who must live with drilling in their communities.”

“This decision helps to establish better regulation of the gas industry,” said Hanger. “But we need to restore full oversight of the industry and strengthen enforcement of our laws. In addition Pennsylvanians living in the gas fields need a Citizens Drilling Complaint Office to function as an autonomous and independent bureau with responsibility to investigate complaints related to drilling activities in the state.”

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Democratic candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania John Hanger is widely regarded as one of the most insightful and best informed progressive public policy experts in the state. Formerly a public-interest lawyer advocating on behalf of low-income families, John is nationally recognized as a leading authority on clean energy development and environmental protection. He served both Governors Casey and Rendell in key positions: first for Bob Casey as Commissioner of the Public Utilities Commission, where he successfully fought to cap electric rates to save Pennsylvania ratepayers billions and for two years as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection in the Rendell Administration. Throughout his career in public service, John has embodied the essence of his campaign slogan "Policy first, politics second."

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