The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that a state law that allows for the seizure of private lands by companies for certain natural gas projects is unconstitutional. The ruling was unanimous and may have a significant impact on one of the biggest proposed pipelines in the state. The original rule from 2012 permitted any company the authority to take private land for the purposes of storing natural gas underground using the eminent domain process.
In reaching the decision, the court found that the rule allows private companies to take land in a manner that is unconstitutional with no direct or obvious benefit to the citizens of Pennsylvania. Oil and gas companies argued the takings provide a benefit by providing jobs but the court did not agree. The court was concerned that was not the primary reason for the rule.