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Bear in the Woods: Environmental Law Blog

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejects Application for Reconsideration of Act 13 decision

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s December 19, 2013 decision in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania declaring portions of Act 13 unconstitutional will remain intact.

Last month, attorneys for the Public Utility Commission (PUC) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) filed an application asking the Supreme Court to reconsider its original decision. (We discussed the opposing positions of the government here and the citizens here.) On Friday, the state Supreme Court summarily denied the DEP and PUC’s application without opinion.

Justice Saylor dissented from the Court’s decision to deny the Application for Reconsideration, stating that the Commonwealth parties were entitled to “a reasonable opportunity to present evidence” on whether Act 13 satisfied the "newly minted balancing test" announced by Chief Justice Catille under Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

The Supreme Court’s denial clears the last remaining obstacle for the case to return to the Commonwealth Court for further proceedings.

Michael Helbing is staff attorney for PennFuture, based in Philadelphia.

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