"Commonwealth Court to PUC: 'Cease and Desist'—Release the Impact Fee Money
The court order was filed Friday over the withholding of four communities' local impact fee money owed them through Act 13—the state's new Marcellus Shale law. The state Commonwealth Court today ordered that the state Public Utility Commission had no authority to review local gas drilling ordinances and subsequently withhold Marcellus Shale drilling impact fee payments in four townships challenging the state’s drilling law, announced state Rep. Jesse White.
When a $204 million statewide disbursement of Marcellus shale drilling impact fees was announced Oct. 15, documents released by the PUC that day noted that Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and South Fayette townships were designated as communities whose money was being “withheld pending resolution of the requests for review of existing ordinances."
White said the PUC's move, calling it a "violation of state law and political extortion," and the affected townships petitioned Commonwealth Court to rule on the matter. The court agreed with them and today ordered the PUC to "cease and desist from acting upon requests pursuant to 58 Pa. C.S. 3305 to review municipal ordinances for compliance with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, and Chapters 32 and 33 of Act 13” because of the Court’s July 26 order that struck down the local zoning provisions in the law."