Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Examination and Implications

29 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2014 Last revised: 20 Aug 2015

John C. Dernbach

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School

James May

Widener University Delaware Law School

Kenneth Kristl

Widener University Delaware Law School

Date Written: March 1, 2014

Abstract

In Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held unconstitutional major parts of Pennsylvania’s “Act 13” — a 2012 oil and gas law designed to facilitate the development of natural gas from Marcellus Shale. In so doing, the Court breathed new life into Article I, Section 27 of Pennsylvania’s constitution, which creates public rights in certain environmental amenities and requires the state to “conserve and maintain” public resources “for the benefit of all the people.” This paper describes the decision, explains some of its immediate implications in Pennsylvania, and also explains its importance for public environmental rights and environmental constitutionalism elsewhere.

Keywords: oil, gas, Marcellus Shale, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Robinson Township, environment, environmental, natural gas, DEP

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K32, Q00, Q01, Q10, Q2, Q3, Q4

Suggested Citation

Dernbach, John C. and May, James and Kristl, Kenneth, Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Examination and Implications (March 1, 2014). Rutgers U. L. Rev. Vol. 67, 2015; Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2412657 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2412657

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9380
United States

James May

Widener University Delaware Law School ( email )

4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803-0406
United States

Kenneth Kristl

Widener University Delaware Law School ( email )

4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803-0406
United States

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