Analysis

Pa. Justices Create Uncertain New Era For Enviro Reviews

By Matt Fair (June 21, 2017, 9:24 PM EDT) -- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's ruling on Tuesday reaffirming constitutional guarantees on the right to clean air and pure water is being hailed as the biggest environmental decision in the state in decades and a harbinger of a new and uncertain era of scrutiny for projects with potential impacts on natural resources.

The justices agreed 5-to-1 that a decades-old test used to balance the potential environmental harm of challenged projects against their overall benefit gave short shrift to principles enshrined in Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution — the so-called Environmental Rights Amendment.

In the wake of the decision, however,...

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