conflicting interests of protecting the environment and of producing coal and other minerals. See 52 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 1369.1. Such a purpose requires that the regulation be carried out at a statewide level. This purpose is even more manifest in the language of section 17.1 which clearly states the intention of the state to take over much, if not all, regulation of all phases of surface mining. This case involves more than traditionally local issues of land use control. It involves the relationship between a comprehensive set of statewide regulations and local regulation of land use. It would be improvident for this court to step into this area and to determine for the state precisely how comprehensive its system of state regulation is. I believe that this case involves an area the regulation of which "is of vital interest to the general public," Burford, 319 U.S. at 324, which requires abstention.
Plaintiff relies heavily on Heritage Farms, Inc. v. Solebury Twp., 671 F.2d 743 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 456 U.S. 990, 73 L. Ed. 2d 1285, 102 S. Ct. 2270 (1982). I have concluded, however, that the present case is distinguishable from Heritage Farms. In that case the Third Circuit did face a case which has certain similarities to the instant case. Plaintiffs therein brought a civil rights action arising form a local zoning dispute. Defendants moved to dismiss on the grounds of abstention. The district court granted the motion. The Third Circuit reversed.
In its decision the Third Circuit stated that abstention was inappropriate in situations such as the one at issue there. Plaintiff therein had alleged a detailed conspiracy on the part of local legislators to use their position to destroy its business for personal economic gain. The court held that under the circumstances presented therein, abstention under either Pullman or Burford was inappropriate.
In considering the applicability of Pullman abstention, the court noted that the mere presence of a dispositive question of state law was not controlling and found that, in general, local land use law, although controlling, was not unsettled enough to warrant abstention. Id. at 747. Similarly, the court found Burford abstention inappropriate because land use is a local rather than a statewide concern and that there is therefore "no uniform state policy for land use." Id. at 748. The court further found that there was no question bearing on important state policies presented. Id. at 748-49 (citing Colorado River Water Conservation, 424 U.S. at 816).
Because I have concluded that the application of SMCRA to local zoning ordinances is an unsettled question of state law and because I have concluded that this issue is presented in this case, Heritage Farms does not control. Heritage Farms involved allegations of conspiracy in a typical zoning case where the only state law involved was the Municipalities Planning Code and the only question presented under that law was the validity of a zoning action taken by a township. The Third Circuit concluded that under those circumstances, abstention was improper. If the same set of facts were presented in the case before me, I would not hesitate but to agree with the Court of Appeals and deny the instant motion. It appears to me, however, that the present case is so different from Heritage Farms as to make the latter inapplicable here. I therefore hold that abstention is appropriate here where there exists a novel, unsettled issue of state law, and where the case involves a statewide regulatory scheme which is an important state concern.
In its complaint plaintiff has also asserted a number of pendent claims based on state law. Because I have decided to dismiss plaintiff's federal constitutional claims, I will decline to exercise jurisdiction over the pendent claims. See United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725, 16 L. Ed. 2d 218, 86 S. Ct. 1130 (1966); Broderick v. Ass'n. of Hospital Serv. of Phila., 536 F.2d 1, 8 n.25 (3d Cir. 1976).
For the foregoing reasons, I will grant defendants' motion to dismiss.
An appropriate order follows.
NOW, April 25, 1985, upon consideration of defendants' motion to dismiss, the response thereto, memoranda of law submitted by the parties and for the reasons set forth in the accompanying memorandum, IT IS ORDERED that:
1. Defendants' motion is GRANTED.
2. Plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
3. Defendants' motion for a protective order is DENIED AS MOOT.