HARRISBURG -- All but one of the western Pennsylvania towns challenging the commonwealth's new gas drilling law now are pending state review of their local ordinances, after a request from a Mt. Pleasant couple was made public this week.
The request to the state Public Utility Commission, which is authorized to determine whether local drilling rules conflict with state law, is the fifth filed with the agency. The prior requests involve ordinances in South Fayette, Cecil, and Robinson, Washington County -- all parties to the lawsuit over the Act 13 drilling law.
A fifth western Pennsylvania township -- Peters, Washington County -- also is involved in the court challenge, along with two Bucks County towns and an environmental activist.
If an ordinance is deemed unacceptable by the PUC, the municipality becomes ineligible for receiving its share of the new impact fee dollars.
The latest request is from Tony Pawlosky and Sally Brown Pawlosky of Mt. Pleasant, who point to provisions in the ordinance addressing setbacks and water impoundments as potentially unacceptable.
"We believe that continued enforcement of the current municipal ordinance has prevented and will continue to prevent the development of oil and gas from occurring," the Pawloskys wrote.
The commission has 120 days from the date each request was received to issue an opinion on whether the local rules conflict with state law. A PUC stamp on the Mt. Pleasant request is dated Sept. 8.