Wednesday, January 9, 2013
The reorganization meeting was held this week.
The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors reorganized this week—with Supervisor Tom Casciola being voted in as the new chairman. Supervisor Andy Schrader will remain the vice chairman, and Manager Don Gennuso will remain the secretary/treasurer. Solicitor John Smith was also retained, although that motion passed 4-1, with Supervisor Elizabeth Cowden casting the dissenting vote. While the township will continue to retain the services of Gateway Engineers, the board may also seek to use another engineering firm for oil-and-gas related matters, Gennuso said. Meetings will stay the same, with supervisors meeting at 7 p.m. the first Monday of each month.
Friday, November 9, 2012
The Public Utilities Commission said that while it does not agree with the court's decision, it will comply with it.
The Public Utilities Commission confirmed that it will release the local impact fee money associated with the state's new Marcellus Shale law to four local municipalities which had their oil and gas ordinances challenged and that were under review by the government agency. The state's Commonwealth Court late last month ordered that the agency "cease and disist" reviewing the ordinances. In a letter dated Tuesday and addressed to Solicitor John Smith, Bohdan R. Pankiw, chief counsel for the PUC wrote: "The Commission will comply with the interpretation set forth in that order and, as directed, will cease and desist from acting upon requests to review municipal ordinances." The letter also stated, "Consistent with this recent Commonwealth …
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Solicitor John Smith advised the board of supervisors at a meeting Monday.
Cecil Township is poised to receive more than $240,000 in local impact fee money related to Marcellus Shale drilling, township Manager Don Gennuso confirmed Tuesday. He said Solicitor John Smith advised the board of supervisors at its meeting Monday that the money would likely be dispersed before Dec. 1. The impact money for Cecil and three other local communities had been withheld by the Public Utilities Commission pending reviews of its ordinances to see if they complied with Act 13, the state's new law governing drilling activities. Residents in those communities had requested the reviews. However, a Commonwealth Court judge last month ruled that the PUC had no authority to review the local gas drilling ordinances which would …
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Testimony by a Department of Environmental Protection lab chief reveals the possibility of intentionally undisclosed water test results associated with Marcellus Shale drilling—which could cause potential health implications.
State Rep. Jesse White today called for state and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for alleged misconduct and fraud revealed by sworn testimony given by a high-ranking DEP official. White said he received a letter and corresponding documents highlighting the sworn testimony of DEP Bureau of Laboratories Technical Director Taru Upadhyay, who was deposed in a lawsuit alleging nearby natural gas drilling operations contaminated drinking water supplies in Washington County, causing serious health issues. In the deposition, White indicated that Upadhyay said that the DEP was aware of water impacts from Marcellus Shale drilling, but no notices of violation were filed—what the…
Friday, October 26, 2012
The court order was filed Friday over the withholding of four communities' local impact fee money owed them through Act 13—the state's new Marcellus Shale law.
The state Commonwealth Court today ordered that the state Public Utility Commission had no authority to review local gas drilling ordinances and subsequently withhold Marcellus Shale drilling impact fee payments in four townships challenging the state’s drilling law, announced state Rep. Jesse White. When a $204 million statewide disbursement of Marcellus shale drilling impact fees was announced Oct. 15, documents released by the PUC that day noted that Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and South Fayette townships were designated as communities whose money was being “withheld pending resolution of the requests for review of existing ordinances." White said the PUC's move, calling it a "violation of state law and political extortion," and the …
Monday, October 15, 2012
Cecil Solicitor John Smith wrote the PUC a letter in opposition to Monday's decision to withhold impact fee money from those municipalities where their oil and gas drilling ordinances are under review by the state.
Cecil Solicitor John Smith wrote a letter to the Public Utilities Commission Monday after finding out that the agency had decided to withhold local impact fee money created through the Act 13 legislation from four local municipalities, including the township—saying the move was improper. Smith who is also spearheading the challenge to Act 13 brought by a cluster of communities including Cecil and Peters townships, as well as a nonprofit organization and medical doctor called the PUC’s move to withhold the money until a review of the municipalities’ ordinances to ensure they complied with the law was “overtly in violation” of the new Marcellus Shale drilling law. “Nowhere in Act 13 is the PUC given the authority to deem a township …
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Several groups today filed briefs in support of the group of communities, medical doctor and nonprofit that have challenged Act 13.
A group of environmental and community planning organizations, as well as government entities, filed a series of Amicus Briefs with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court today in support of communities’ rights to making zoning decisions about Marcellus Shale play within their borders. The groups—including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association, the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, the Pittsburgh City Council, Mountain Watershed Association, and Earthjustice—filed in support of a Commonwealth Court decision that found portions of Act 13 unconstitutional. The groups filing today join a broad spectrum of entities from …
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Cecil's solicitor said the requests are "without merit."
A Cecil resident has asked the state Public Utilities Commission to review the township’s ordinance governing oil and gas operations—saying it does not comply with Act 13, Pennsylvania’s new law governing Marcellus Shale play. In a letter to the PUC dated Aug. 31, Alan Rank of 1683 Reissing Rd., wrote, “As a landowner residing in Cecil Township I believe that enforcement of the current municipal ordinance has and will prevent the development of oil and gas from taking place. Continued enforcement of this ordinance is only the latest in a trend of anti-industry behavior displayed by the township's officials.” The 32-page letter continued: “Even though much of the oil and gas industry has established Cecil Township as (its) home base of …
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The request to deny the motion to intervene in an appeal of Act 13 by two of the state's top Republican leaders was filed Wednesday by the challengers to the law.
Attorneys for a cluster of communities, medical doctor and nonprofit challenging Pennsylvania's new law governing Marcellus Shale play on Wednesday asked the state Supreme Court to deny the request of two top state Republican leaders to intervene in an appeal of Act 13. State Senator Pro Temore Joe Scarnati and state Leader of the House Rep. Samuel H. Smith made the request to intervene in the appeal, which was filed a day after the Commonwealth Court ruled that portions of the new law dealing with zoning was unconstitutional last month. In its motion, attorneys for the Act 13 challengers, which include the communities of Cecil and Peters townships, said Scarnati and Smith's request should be denied for several reasons—including the fact …
Thursday, August 16, 2012
A caveat in state law had lawyers arguing in Commonwealth Court Wednesday over a legal technicality that left Act 13 provisions in effect despite an earlier ruling indicating they were unconstitutional.
Cecil attorney John Smith said Thursday that 99 out of 100 municipalities in Pennsylvania might not have realized it, but despite a Commonwealth Court ruling that struck down portions of Act 13—the state’s new Marcellus Shale law—as unconstitutional July 26, the provisions were still technically in effect the next day. That’s because of a caveat in state law dictating that the decisions of a lower court in which the state is a defendant are stayed until an appeal is hashed out. The state appealed the ruling July 27. That’s why Smith said he travelled to Harrisburg to argue that the Commonwealth Court reinstate its order—telling the judge that it would cause “chaos” at the municipal level and give officials a no-win scenario if the law was …