Pennsylvania’s efforts to better protect schools, playgrounds, and wildlife from fracking activities are invalid, a state judge ruled Aug. 23.

Provisions in its hydraulic fracturing regulations relating to “playgrounds,” “common areas of a school’s property,” and certain “other critical communities” of rare plant and animal species are “void and unenforceable,” Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Michael H. Wojcik wrote in a decision.

The decision is a partial victory for the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coalition, which sued the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the state’s Environmental Quality Board in October 2016 over...