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EQT Production Co. v. Jefferson Hills, Borough of

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20098
Nos. 4 WAP 2018, (Pa., 05/31/2019)

A state high court held that a borough council was allowed to consider residents' testimony regarding firsthand experiences with a natural gas extraction company's hydraulic fracturing facility in a neighboring township in a hearing on the company's conditional use application to construct and operate a similar facility in the borough. The borough challenged a lower court's dismissal of the testimony as "speculative" on the grounds that it was not specific to the proposed facility, arguing that the testimony was highly relevant to the council's burden of showing the proposed facility would adversely affect the health, safety, and welfare of their residents given that the the facility in the neighboring township was similar to the proposed facility in the borough. The court concluded that the testimony was both relevant and probative of whether approving the company's application adversely impacted the health, safety, and general welfare of the borough's residents. It therefore vacated the order and remanded with instructions to reconsider its decision.