Shale Energy Law Blog
PA Municipality Adopts Pipeline Ordinance
March 13, 2013
In what appears to be a first in Pennsylvania, on March 11, 2013, Forward Township in Allegheny County enacted an ordinance specifically targeting and extensively regulating both transmission and gathering pipelines. While the ordinance is technically not a zoning ordinance, it imposes an approval process similar to a conditional use whereby an application is reviewed by the Township Planning Commission and approved by the Board of Supervisors, which may place any conditions or restrictions on the permit that the Board determines is necessary for the public health and safety. In addition to a detailed application, the ordinance requires an application fee of $3,000 per mile of pipeline proposed (up to $15,000) and, upon approval by the Board, a performance bond of $25,000 per mile of pipeline. The operator must also provide the Township with an escrow or letter of credit in the amount of $50,000 for the closure and abandonment of the pipeline for any restoration of the property, air or environment where the pipeline is located. The ordinance probably is preempted by a number of state and Federal statutes.