The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's recent decision backing the rights of municipalities in their fight against Gov. Corbett's new gas drilling law has environmentalists and business owners wondering how it will affect the legal landscape. The decision is the first to use the environmental rights amendment to strike down a Pennsylvania law. Rather than contest a project's permit applications, an opponent might now sue over whether a government decision met obligations under the amendment.

"It's arguable whether it's more effective or not, but I think the view is the more lawsuits there are, the less likely it is that things are going to get done. There's a cost to defending lawsuits, even if you win," said Harry Weiss, a partner in Ballard Spahr's Environment and Natural Resources Group.

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