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Politics & Government

Without Appeal, Mt. Pleasant to Get Gas Fee

The Mount Pleasant Township man who filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has withdrawn his complaint opening the door for the state to send out more than a half million dollars in Marcellus Shale impact fees to the township. Tony Pawlosky had appealed to the commission arguing that the township’s zoning ordinance did not comply with Pennsylvania ACT 13, which regulates gas drilling in the state.

PUC spokesperson Jennifer Kocher said the $511,855.78 check will be sent out within the next 10 days.

In his letter to the PUC, Pawlosky said the township has indicated a willingness to change its stance and look at its ordinance again.  Pawlosky declined to be interviewed by WESA and township officials have not returned calls for comment.

The PUC is still in the process of reviewing appeals filed against Cecil and Robinson Townships in Washington County.  The review of an appeal involving South Fayette Township in Allegheny County has been completed and the PUC ruled that its ordinance is out of compliance with Act 13, and the township is not eligible for impact fee funds until it makes changes or gets an order from Commonwealth Court.

A new appeal being filed by a Mt. Pleasant resident would not stop the check from being cut.  “We have to rule within 120 days of a request for review being filed before us, and at this point if someone filed a request for review the township would have 20 days to respond and it would all start to fall outside of the December 21st deadline that we have to send out the money,” said Kocher.

Mt. Pleasant is still pursuing its appeal of portions of Act 13.  The PUC action has no impact on that suit.  And the fact that the PUC is not finishing the review is not an indication that the local ordinance is either in or out of compliance with Act 13.

“The only time we begin a review is when we are requested to do so by a resident of the municipality or a driller who has activity in that municipality,” said Kocher.  Since the request has been withdrawn the PUC has no standing to continue the review.