HARRISBURG, Pa. — A state judge is ordering a temporary halt to portions of Pennsylvania’s new Marcellus Shale law that limit the power of municipalities to regulate the booming natural gas exploration industry.

Judge halts zoning limits in Pa. gas drilling law | Press & Sun-Bulletin | pressconnects.com.

Commonwealth Court Senior Judge Keith Quigley issued a 120-day injunction Wednesday after hearing arguments earlier in the day.

The eight-week-old law’s local-zoning provisions were scheduled to take effect Saturday.

A group that includes seven municipalities sought the injunction in the short-term to give them time to argue their lawsuit that the law unconstitutionally takes away local powers that protect them from potential harm.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Howard Hopkirk argued that the state created the municipal planning code, and municipalities have no right or standing to complain about perceived harm to its residents if the state pre-empts parts of it.