The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments against a new law that regulates the state’s booming natural gas industry. Representatives of seven municipalities say the law, known as Act 13, takes away their ability to control gas drilling operations through local zoning, leaving them defenseless to protect homeowners, parks and schools from being surrounded by drilling sites or waste pits. In July, the state Commonwealth Court ruled 4-3 that the zoning aspects of Act 13 violated the state constitution, and Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration appealed. The Corbett administration says the sweeping, 8-month-old law is constitutional, and doesn’t violate the rights of municipalities or residents. Some local officials say Act 13 puts them in a difficult legal position, because part of their job is to protect the health and safety of their communities. “We believe Act 13 clearly violates the Pennsylvania constitution and makes it impossible to carry out the responsibilities of elected office,” Robinson Township supervisor Brian Coppola said in a statement. The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania issued a statement in support of the municipalities that are opposing Act 13, and the Columbia University School of Law is also helping to fight the legislation, as are environmental groups. The natural gas industry, which has invested billions of dollars in Pennsylvania to exploit the Marcellus Shale formation, the nation’s largest-known natural gas field, had sought the statewide rules. Some companies complained that municipalities, mostly in southwestern Pennsylvania, had tried to use zoning rules to effectively ban drilling. Wholesale revenues from Marcellus production this year are projected to be in the range of $6 billion to $8 billion, depending on market prices. Landowners get hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty payments out of that total, and the Corbett administration says the industry benefits the entire state by providing jobs and lowering energy costs.