Why such favoritism?
The Public Utility Commission plans to go the extra mile in its service to the gas industry.
The state Supreme and Commonwealth courts have stripped the PUC of the extraordinary power that Mr. Corbett and the Legislature had given it to overrule local zoning in favor of the industry.
No other industrial enterprise has that prerogative (although the politicians' other favorite enterprise - gambling - has something close), and the PUC historically has not been involved in zoning matters.
But now the PUC plans to appeal the most recent Commonwealth Court decision, which strips the PUC of its power to review and overrule local zoning rules relative to drilling.
Some local zoning rules might be designed specifically and illegally to thwart drilling, or otherwise might not comply with state law. But in those cases, drillers have the same opportunity as any other enterprise to appeal adverse ordinances through local zoning boards and courts. It is fundamentally against the public interest in disclosure and transparency to give the industry an end run around the process by going directly to the PUC or the Commonwealth Court.
State law covering zoning, and the court system that adjudicates disputes, are capable of dealing with drilling as well as they do with any other industries.