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Cecil Joins Legal Suit Challenging State's New Marcellus Shale Law

The board voted 3-1 to join other municipalities in a legal challenge against Act 13.

Supervisor Elizabeth Cowden was clear during the board’s special meeting Tuesday morning: She did not support a legal challenge to

“I believe a challenge is an absolute waste of taxpayer money,” she said, adding that “hundreds upon hundreds of dollars” would be wasted on a fruitless challenge.

Cowden said Solicitor John Smith wouldn’t be able to go up against some of the best attorneys not only in the state, but the world.

“Do you think for one minute that they are going to allow Cecil Township and John Smith to run them over?” she asked. “Cecil Township will have to pay the buck.”

But that’s about the time that board Chairman Mike Debbis spoke up, telling Cowden and the packed room that Smith had offered to represent the township pro bono.

And despite several residents making impassioned pleas—some for the township to proceed with a suit but most others indicating they didn’t think one was prudent, the board voted to join a legal challenge to Act 13, along with Mt. Pleasant and a handful of other municipalities.

After the more than hour-long hearing, Supervisor Andy Schrader made a motion to join in the lawsuit. The motion also included a provision that would allow the expenditure of up to $2,500 to pay for expert witnesses, if needed.

Supervisor Frank Ludwin seconded the motion, which passed by a 3-1 vote. Cowden voted no and Supervisor Tom Casciola was absent.

Smith has said he believes that seven or eight issues with Act 13 are constitutionally challengeable—one of which deals with zoning.

Smith declined to disclose a copy of the suit because it was not yet a public document. He said it would be publicly available once it is filed, which is expected to be within the next week.

Lynne March 20, 2012 at 06:27 PM
$2,500 for an "expert" witness??? Really... how much time you think that will buy you??
Me March 20, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Why would we need an expert witness. Andy Schrader has all the answers.
cecil resident March 20, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Cecil Supervisors strike again! They sat there and said they are here to take care of all the township residents and they in their almighty wisdom will do what they want to do and don't ask to many questions cause we will shut you down. The almighty majority of the supervisors in their own words admited they hadn't read the legal document, all accept one and he probably can speed read. I guess the great one the township attorney ,who is working for free cause this is such a great cause, has a crystal ball and the supervisors follow him blindly. If anyone has ever had dealings with a lawyer knows they never work for free they will get their money some way.This little kingdom these supervisor have created with the tax payers money that they put into one crazy scheme after another , forget where that money comes from, the citizens of Cecil Township the VOTERS. They didn't get the document until friday. The first time I seen a meeting posted was monday . Then the meeting was at 9AM tuesday surprise surprise when so many citizen can't make it. They have no idea how much this will cost the township in the long run and they don't care. As one supervisor stated the state is feeling guilty about this ACT13 cause he was not able to get money for the legion project now the state is offering all kind of money. All I can say is the township citizens are fed up and they will remember come election time.
ceciltaxpayer March 22, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Well I for one applaud the supervisors for trying to give those of us WHO DO CARE about not having a voice with oil companies who want to come in and take over. I am not against drilling, but i don't want it in my back yard, near my child's school or god forbid polluting my water. There is no reason other than arrogance for the State to mandate what goes on in my township, near MY house. singed a Cecil taxpayer who voted for most of the supervisors and will AGAIN!
cecil resident March 22, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Cecil taxpayer the state is giving you a voice it is just not the voice with a bunch of petty regulation everytime a resident doesn't like their neighbor and they add a new one to the books. It is not going to be in your back yard if you live in one of the housing plans their's not enough room and if you have some land they can't come within your property line. The township elected officals have no problem letting a housing plan be built around a high tension line which is not suppose to be real healthy for you.You would be really surprised what is under your houses right now this is a mining and oil well region and numerous mines and old pipe lines and uncaped wells are all over this area. And as far as a school goes ask your supervisors you elected why they didn't put up a fuss when the railroad that was reconnected , for the benefit of the gas companies, goes right pass the intermediate school almost on top of the playing field. Who knows what is being hauled in those tankers for the gas companies but not a peep out of them. And as far as arrogances goes I see plenty of that at our township meeting from the officals you voted for. And just to set the story straight it is gas they are drilling for not oil and I do care very much that is why I shake my head every time a developer comes thru and destroys acres of GREEN trees.
ceciltaxpayer March 22, 2012 at 07:46 PM
The State is giving me a voice? are you kidding? Our governor bows down to the gas companies (I knew it was gas, that was an error) and wants to allow them to come in, set up camp, bring in workers from out of state, destroy the green trees you love, make noise round the clock for a year, tear up our roads then leave us with polluted water and various unknowns yet to be discovered. This industry although around for while, still is not even close to fair and safe regulations. I don't live in a plan, I live in a remote area and there is another property owners farm behind mine, and they are proposing a well right behind us. don't tell me that it won't be near me. I don't want my family to be the guinea pigs for dangers yet to come. I want a say about what goes on in my neck of the woods.
cecil resident March 22, 2012 at 09:05 PM
So does your neighbor have rights , where are his rights to do with his property what he wishes. You also have all kinds of Government organization like the EPA that will also keep a watch on the gas companies it is not just the state giving free pass to the gas companies. Take a good look around and you will find a lot of our young people are finding good paying jobs in this industry. Housing plans destroy a lot more acre then the gas company. Once the well is complete and I have seen it within a few months not a year, and they also put up walls to lower the noise.The township picks and choices you forgot the railroad next to the school. We need some kind of uniform law , because this gas drilling is not going away ,we can't let every little community pass multiple laws without creating a paper nightmare for the residents who want it on their property they also have rights in our community.
ceciltaxpayer March 22, 2012 at 09:46 PM
we ALL have rights, and buying land in the "country" so I can have peace and quiet, clean air and green living is at the TOP of my list!!
cecil resident March 23, 2012 at 01:33 AM
That was my goal to and a finished well surrounded by trees is a lot less disturbing than a housing plan with all the trees cut down with 100+ houses. Some times we all have to make adjustments in life. How come you shy away from the train next to the school and a high tension line in the middle of a housing plan I guess you pick and chose like our elected officals.
Roger March 23, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Rights? Rights for peace and quiet? Rights for green living? Where do you find these rights? I do think you have a choice on where you live. I know of another case, another state, where an 85 year old farmer was left penniless by those insisting on their "rights." He had a farm, with dairy and hogs, and hay crops. The land surrounding his farm was sold off for housing development. The new residents didn't like the smell and dust from his operation. They got a court order for him to stop farming operations because of their complaints. He then tried to sub-divide his property for housing, and was prohibited from doing so. He had invested $100K so far in the development, when the commissioners said he could not do the sub-division (7 plots on 35 acres). The money was to be used for paying off his wife's medical bills (she has since died), and for him to retire. Now, he is stuck, no farming, no sub-division, out the $100K, because of the "rights" of people who bought property next to his farm, knowing what was there. His rights of farming and generating income were secondary to the issue.
cecil resident March 23, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Roger what you say is correct, at one time when you purchased your piece of ground and you paid your taxes and as long as it didn't endanger lives you could pretty much do what you wanted to do because it was yours. Since then if our government decides it wants to use it for what ever your dream is over. Citizens because they don't like the noise or the smell, etc. they make enough noise and the law is passed. When I read about that farmer it broke my heart it is happening more and more in this country but how does the average citizen stop it?
Be March 30, 2012 at 01:35 AM
In a perfect world, the townships would win, try to impose regulations that violated indiviual/landowner rights of course, because thats their whole purpose for existence, the landowners would then sue and win and there would be precedent for any legislation at any level to be illegal. Alas, the municipalites wont win, because state law supersedes local law and no court is ever going to give up that power. Once there is precedent for local ordinances superceding state law, the cat is out of the bag. They are never NEVER going to let that cat out of the bag.
Be March 30, 2012 at 01:49 AM
this lawsuit is political pandering plain and simple. this will not succeed, they dont even want it to suceed. this lawsuit is for votes. that is it. there is no way any sane government official thinks it will succeed or wants it to succeed. Think about it, liberals wanting to decrease big government power and give it locals. No frickin way do they want this to succeed. And they know it wont, but they'll say and do just about anything to get the votes of the sheep and low IQ class, who will believe just about anything, because they dont know anything about the people their voting for and what their agenda really is. I'll guarantee you clean air and water etc etc etc oh ok that sounds great. Catch is they want to make you to bike to work, use solar panels to heat your house, air dry your laundry and only then will the world be clean. While they burn 100,000 gallons of jet fuel flying around the world in their private jets because they're "important"
Be March 30, 2012 at 02:07 AM
ceciltaxpayer they got your vote. that is all they care about. win or lose, and trust me they want to lose, becuase when they get elected, theyre sure as hell not going to want the laws they make open to being overridden by local control they got what they wanted. i just dont get why people cant see through this. This lawsuit is a sham. THE PEOPLE FILING THIS SUIT KNOW IT WILL NOT SUCCEED. THEY DONT WANT IT TO SUCCEED. They just want you to vote for them.
Alexander M. Cianfracco March 30, 2012 at 02:51 AM
"Be", you don't even know how to use punctuation and capitalization; how do you expect anyone to think you know anything about law or government? Especially since you already told us you don't vote. Move along, little boy...
Be March 30, 2012 at 05:26 AM
i see you have nothing to rebut, because you know i'm right son, and the truth hurts, and all you can do is name call because you know it is the truth. i dont name call, and youre right, i dont sanction representative democracy. you cant refute the truth, so all you have is name calling. thats why i'm better than you.
Be March 30, 2012 at 05:32 AM
tie your vote to whether or not they win, not what they say theyre going to do. i guarantee if you tie your vote to their success in this suit, you will not be voting for them. the suit is a ploy, its irrefutable. the basis is against everything liberals believe in. if this suit is succesful, the entire system as we know it collapses, state law becomes null and void. it is not going to happen.
Be March 30, 2012 at 05:40 AM
they know this suit has absolutely no chance, and they dont want it to succeed. the deck is stacked and theyre in on it. this is a landmark case. this case will uphold the supremacy of state law over local law, and its a lock.
Be March 30, 2012 at 06:01 AM
i see the big picture, hear the background noise mr cianfranco. you see only whats in front of your face,and only hear what you are told. to you, this is a fight over beliefs, over health and safety etc etc etc. thats what you're told, that is what is in front of your eyes, thats what matters in your little world, and the world of the homeowner in cecil township, so they prey on it because thats what matters to ceciltaxpayer. but you don't matter, and neither does ceciltaxpayer, or myself. the lever you pull is all that matters.
Be March 30, 2012 at 06:08 AM
i know it sucks, all you are is a pull of the lever. i embrace that i'm nobody to them, just some crazy internet guy who doesnt matter because he doesnt pull their lever. thats me
Kimberly Prism January 06, 2014 at 10:04 AM
Hahaha, where are the naysayers now? Good thing the Pa Supreme Court understands our Pa State Constitution.

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