Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

STATE/EAST/ALLEGHENY COUNTY/SOUTH [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

STATE/EAST/ALLEGHENY COUNTY/SOUTH [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

STATE

Towns get expedited hearing in suit against state shale law

The seven municipalities challenging the state's new law governing natural gas drilling activities will get their day in court next week, after the Commonwealth Court on Wednesday granted their request for an expedited hearing.

Appellate judges will hear arguments on April 11 at 10 a.m., which falls three days before the bulk of the statute goes into effect.

The order granting the speedy hearing also included a brief disclosure from the assigned judge, who holds a minority interest in some real estate involving mineral deposits and in a limited partnership that develops oil and gas rights.

The municipalities -- Cecil, Peters, Mount Pleasant and Robinson in Washington County, South Fayette in Allegheny County and Yardley and Nockamixon townships in Bucks County -- involved in the suit objected primarily to the law's restriction on local zoning rules, which would require them to rewrite their ordinances.

The lawsuit argues that standardizing zoning rules for gas drilling is an "improper and arbitrary" use of state power. Officials claim it hinders their ability to adequately protect residents and to structure equitable zoning rules.

In addition to the zoning provision, the new state law also allows counties to impose a per-well fee on drillers and strengthens some environmental regulations.

EAST

Pentagon official confirms no Flight 93 remains at landfill

No passenger remains from United Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, Somerset County on 9/11, were disposed of in a landfill, a top Pentagon official confirmed Wednesday.

All 93 specimens sent to the Armed Forces' DNA Identification Laboratory for testing were returned to Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller in 2005, according to Jo Ann Rooney, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

Ms. Rooney provided that confirmation to Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who asked the Department of Defense to confirm that no remains from the Shanksville crash site were sent to a landfill. His inquiry came after a February Washington Post story about an Air Force report that said small amounts of unidentified remains from Flight 93 were cremated and then sent to a landfill. …

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