This month, I offer a brief review of environmental issues considered by the Pennsylvania appellate courts last year.
Environmental Rights Amendment. Two years ago, a plurality of the Supreme Court invalidated many core provisions of the Oil and Gas Amendments of 2012 (Act 13) under Article I, Section 27, of the Pennsylvania Constitution as in Robinson Township v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 83 A.3d 901 (Pa. 2013). The plurality called for a balancing of environmental rights against other interests, rejecting the three-part test of Feudale v. Aqua Commonwealth, Inc., 335 M.D. 2014 (Pa. Commw. July 22, 2015)] is a challenge to Aqua’s waterline replacement project, for which Aqua sought and received the appropriate permit from the DEP.” The court held that Aqua—a private party—could have no obligations under the amendment.
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