Sunoco’s proposed Mariner East pipeline that would transport natural gas liquids (NGLs) from Pennsylvania’s rich Marcellus Shale production in Western Pennsylvania to processing plants in southeastern Pennsylvania, received a blow from Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ALJs on July 23, 2014.
HMS Legal Blog
In Robinson Township v. Commonwealth, 83 A.3d 901(Pa. 2013) the Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated key provisions of Act 13, the statute that removed from local zoning control the power to regulate oil and gas operations through restrictions on the placement and operation of oil and gas facilities. The Court remanded to the Commonwealth Court to consider whether other provisions of Act 13, including provisions that give the PUC power to review local zoning ordinances and withhold impact fees, remain viable.
On June 4, 2011, the PUC reduced its majority motion to a written order and has remanded the case to an Administrative Law Judge for a ruling on whether the service and terms of the partial settlement are in the public interest. The Order essentially follows Commissioner Wayne E. Gardner’s Motion, which was joined by Chairman Robert F. Powelson and Vice-Chairman John F. Coleman, Jr. at the May 19, 2011 public meeting. It accepted the position of Laser and other parties, such as the PUC’s Office of Trial Staff, that the service proposed by Laser will be public utility service because it will be open to any member of the public requiring service to the extent of capacity.
PUC finds that Laser Northeast’s gas gathering service in the Marcellus Shale play is public utility service
On May 19, 2011, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) voted 3-2 to approve a motion by Commissioner Wayne E. Gardner finding that Laser Northeast Gathering Company’s (“Laser”) proposed natural gas pipeline gathering service in Pennsylvania is a public utility service.
There are two natural gas pipeline safety bills pending before the Pennsylvania General Assembly: House Bill 344 and Senate Bill 325. Each was met with overwhelming approval in the chamber in which it was proposed, and the passage of either would result in additional safety regulation of the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett used his March 8, 2011 Budget address to announce creation of a Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission charged with developing a “comprehensive, strategic proposal for the responsible and environmentally sound development of Marcellus Shale” by July 22, 2011.
On January 4, 2011, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that delay rental payments under a gas lease are not sufficient to extend gas leases indefinitely. Because the gas leases limited the ability of the lessee to forego production through the payment of delay rental for only one year, when the year ended and the lessee failed to commence production, the agreements expired.