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StateImpact: PUC Appeals July Court Decision On Act 13 Local Ordinance Review

StateImpact reported Friday the Public Utility Commission has appealed a July ruling by Commonwealth Court which enjoined the PUC from reviewing local ordinances that regulate drilling activities.

The PA Supreme Court ruled in December restrictions on local governments regulating natural gas development were unconstitutional, but remanded parts of its decision to Commonwealth Court for further review.  The July ruling was the result of that review.

“We are questioning the Commonwealth Courts order that prevents us from doing any sort of review of ordinances,” wrote PUC spokeswoman Denise McCracken in an email. The PUC also says it has authority over other aspects of Act 13 that the Supreme Court did not rule unconstitutional and the Municipalities Planning Code.

Jordan Yeager, who represents the local municipalities in the case, says he’s not surprised by the Commonwealth’s appeal.

“This is an effort by the General Assembly and the Corbett Administration to carve out special rules for the gas industry that no other industry has,” said Yeager. “The PUC doesn’t have a role in reviewing zoning ordinances in any other context. This is just special treatment for the gas industry.”

Yeager says the Public Utility Commission has played no historical role in the state’s local zoning. Yeager says he is considering a cross-appeal of other aspects of the Commonwealth Court’s July ruling.


PUC Appeals July Court Decision On Act 13 Local Ordinance Review

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