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.

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

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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