Last month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided Robinson Township v. Commonwealth, No. 63 MAP 2012 (Pa. Dec. 19, 2013). The plurality’s 162-page opinion calls into question a lot of what we thought we knew about the Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Most of the analysis of Robinson Township so far has focused on its narrow holding that declared unconstitutional the enhanced preemption of local land use regulation of oil and gas operations adopted in the 2012 Omnibus Amendments to the Oil and Gas Act, known as Act 13. That holding had political and perhaps business implications, but it did not change anything. It merely maintained the status quo ante. The constitutional basis for that holding, however, may have changed a lot.
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