In its brief, the U.S. Chamber and a coalition of Pennsylvania business groups urged the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to clarify that a 2013 plurality opinion by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopting an expansive interpretation of the scope of the Pennsylvania Constitution’s “Environmental Rights Amendment” (ERA) is not binding precedent. The amicus brief explained that the Robinson Township I plurality opinion interpreted the ERA with exceptional breadth, essentially concluding that every governmental action that reduces open space arguably is a violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The plurality opinion also appeared to create a new private right of action to enforce the ERA. The amicus brief demonstrated that activists are invoking the plurality opinion to hinder economic development in the state.
The Chamber filed this brief jointly with the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Susquehanna Industrial Development Corporation, and Warren County Chamber of Business & Industry in support of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Robert L. Byer, Robert M. Palumbos, Andrew R. Sperl, and Meredith E. Carpenter of Duane Morris LLP served as counsel for the amici with the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.