HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania’s highest court says local governments can consider complaints about natural gas drilling operations from people in other jurisdictions when determining whether a company should be granted a permit.

The state Supreme Court ruled 6-1 Friday that the Pittsburgh suburb of Jefferson Hills was entitled to hear from people in a neighboring township about the effects of drilling by applicant EQT Production Company on health, safety and welfare.

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The majority says Commonwealth Court wrongly called that input speculative, as people were relating firsthand experiences.

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Jefferson Hills turned down the permit to build a 30-acre hydraulic fracturing facility in a business park with 16 wells and multimillion-gallon water impoundment ponds.

But a county judge overturned the borough council, saying EQT met conditions for a conditional use under the zoning ordinance.

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