The Commonwealth Court recently provided new guidance on the extent to which the Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution gives municipalities or agencies additional powers or imposes on them additional obligations. Frederick v. Allegheny Township Zoning Hearing Board, No. 2295 C.D. 2015 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Oct. 26, 2018), holds that the amendment does not alter the authority of the ZHB or its procedures. On the other hand, the Environmental Hearing Board seems to have held previously that the amendment requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to engage in an environmental assessment of some sort before granting a permit.
Read David G. Mandelbaum’s Dec. 20 article from The Legal Intelligencer, “Staying in Lane Under the Environmental Rights Amendment.”