In our post on Thursday we covered the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s decision to withhold impact fees from localities with ordinances or rules limiting hydraulic fracturing. In that post we noted that certain plaintiffs in the Robinson Township case requested an order from a state appellate court blocking that decision. On Friday, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued such an order, which bars the PUC from withholding impact fees.
In its brief order, the Court stated that its standing injunction from July (put in place when it declared portions of Act 13 unconstitutional, pending state Supreme Court review) prohibits the PUC from reviewing local zoning ordinances and/or withholding impact fees at all. The PUC contended that it could proceed with its review under a section of Act 13 not specifically mentioned in the Court’s ruling striking down parts of Act 13. But the Court determined that its injunction barred any efforts to determine whether local ordinances complied with the law, stating: “The language of the court’s July 26, 2012 order does not distinguish between the basis for PUC’s review….” As a result, the PUC’s review of local ordinances under Act 13 will be sidelined until the state Supreme Court rules in the Robinson Township case.