Harrisburg Capitol Building

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission appealed a Commonwealth Court ruling that stripped it of its authority to review local government ordinances under the oil and gas law, Act 13 of 2012.

In July, in Robinston Township v. Public Utility Commission, the Commonwealth Court found some sections of Act 13 to be nonseverable stemming from a Supreme Court ruling on the law last December. The Commonwealth Court ruling effectively removed the PUC’s authority to review local ordinances regulating natural gas development. The PUC can no longer withhold impact fees from municipalities that it deems have violated the law, fees paid to the PUC by the drillers.

A statement released by the PUC’s press office said that “because a condition to receipt of the impact fee funds is compliance with Pennsylvania law, we are questioning the Commonwealth Court’s order that prevents us from doing any sort of review of ordinances. We believe that we are able to review ordinances for compliance with the Municipalities Planning Code as well as the non-enjoined portions of Act 13.”