On July 29, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court returned to Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation v. Commonwealth, a leading case on the Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution. The court appears to have decided that the commonwealth is free to allow use of Pennsylvania’s pubic natural resources and to apply the income however it chooses. Only proceeds from the sale of public natural resources must be returned to the public trust corpus.
The commonwealth had received bonus payments upon entry into the primary term of leases, rents, fees and royalties. Of those, the Commonwealth Court had to determine which were payments for the sale of a trust asset, and which were not. The July 29 decision from the Commonwealth Court addresses that question.
Read more from my article in this week’s edition of Pa. Law Weekly in The Legal Intelligencer, 42 Pa. L. Weekly 33 (August 13, 2019), by clicking here.