Writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Consumer Energy Alliance’s Mid-Atlantic Director Mike Butler discusses a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to strike down provisions of the state’s shale development law and potential impacts on the economy and consumers. 

Late last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made headlines with a 4-2 decision to strike down several key provisions of the Keystone State’s Marcellus Shale gas development law, known as Act 13. Washington County’s Robinson Township recently announced that it intends to withdraw from a joint lawsuit against Act 13, which prompted Supreme Court action in the first place.

The concerns expressed by Robinson Township are understandable since the reversal of Act 13 will likely impact the development of the Marcellus Shale play to the detriment of the Keystone State’s economy. For many Pennsylvanians, shale energy development has translated into jobs, economic opportunity and real savings. In fact, home heating costs have been cut in half and electricity prices are down 40 percent, due to the bounty of natural gas provided by the Marcellus Shale.

 Consumer Energy Alliance is concerned about impacts stemming from the Act 13 decision since the cost of natural gas will likely increase across the country as a result of efforts to ban shale development in Pennsylvania since the Marcellus Shale recently accounted for 18 percent of all U.S. natural gas production.

 In the backdrop of the evolving debate around shale energy production, one thing is clear: Abandoning the economic development and job creation efforts that the shale resource boom has supported would severely weaken Pennsylvania.

 Policymakers and consumers should focus on working together to find a common-sense approach that leverages the responsible use of our resources to encourage investment, build opportunity and create jobs for Pennsylvanians.