HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvania officials are reviewing a second municipality's gas-drilling rules to determine whether Robinson's ordinance should prevent the township from receiving impact fee dollars this fall.
The new request to the Public Utility Commission to review Robinson's rules, sent in a letter dated Aug. 23, argues that the Washington County township has a local ordinance that encroaches on the state's authority to make environmental laws. Robinson is among the municipalities challenging a new Marcellus Shale drilling law.
"As a landowner residing within Robinson Township, I believe that enforcement of the current municipal ordinance has prevented the development of oil and gas from taking place," Robinson resident Rodger Kendall wrote in his letter to the PUC.
The township's impact fee revenues should be withheld until the commission's review is completed or the ordinance is revised, he wrote.
Under the new drilling law enacting the impact fee, called Act 13, any municipalities determined to have overreaching local rules are not eligible for the impact fee until their ordinances are adjusted.
A letter dated today from the PUC to Robinson officials, alerting them of the ordinance review request, is posted on the commission's website.
A township supervisor could not immediately be reached for comment this afternoon.
The review request follows one filed earlier this month by a South Fayette resident.
Both towns have 20 days from the date they were notified of the review request to respond to the PUC, which has 120 days to issue its ruling on whether the ordinance is legal.
While a Commonwealth Court judge overturned a portion of the law related to zoning issues last month, the requests argue that other sections that remain in effect provide guidelines for judging whether local drilling rules are appropriate.
The Commonwealth Court decision has been appealed to the state Supreme Court. Both the municipalities challenging the zoning provisions and the state officials defending the law have requested an expedited hearing, though no date has been set yet.breaking - region - state - marcellusshale
Harrisburg Bureau Chief Laura Olson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-787-4254.