Pennsylvania high court upholds old precedent in fracking

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP)-- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled to uphold a legal principle that allows drillers to drain oil and natural gas from outside their property lines.

The court overturned a 2018 decision by the lower Superior Court on Wednesday that said the “rule of capture" does not cover hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the rule has been applied throughout the United States since at lease 1889. The rule states that oil and gas in reservoirs belongs to whomever pulls it from a well first.

The court did not rule on what happens if a fracking operation physically crosses a property boundary, in which case a company could be subject to a trespassing claim.

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