HARRISBURG - Differences over local zoning have surfaced as a new potential obstacle to lawmakers' efforts to agree on an impact fee on Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale natural gas producers and modernize safety regulations on the drilling industry.
Several Republican senators have changed their minds and on Wednesday signed a letter to Senate leaders saying they now oppose a provision in separate House and Senate bills to limit municipalities' authority to control drilling activity.
Securing strict limits is a priority of the natural gas industry, as a way to prevent municipal officials from imposing ordinances that effectively prevent drilling. But the nearly identical limits that were approved late last year by the House and Senate in separate bills are not as strict as ones sought by Gov. Corbett, a Republican, or many in the industry, and now some past supporters of those limits say they go too far.