By Chris Buckley
But that law might be overturned because of a split in the Supreme Court as one justice awaits trial.
Speaking at the supervisors’ meeting Tuesday, Bigi said the township had prepared an ordinance governing drilling in light of the Marcellus shale industry boom.
Bigi said Act 13, enacted by the Corbett administration, “takes away the power of local municipalities to regulate gas wells.
“We did not enact our ordinance. The state came in and completely usurped our powers,” Bigi said.
Act 13, signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett on Feb. 14, provides for the imposition of a drilling impact fee. A significant portion of the revenue generated will be used to cover the local impacts of drilling, while several state agencies will receive money for other purposes.
Bigi said several municipalities have challenged Act 13, which the Commonwealth Court in a 4-3 decision ruled was unconstitutional.
The state appealed to the Supreme Court. Bigi predicted the high court would be deadlocked on the issue, 3-3, along party lines. He said that stalemate could occur because Justice Joan Orie Melvin has been suspended as she prepares to stand trial on charges she illegally used her taxpayer-funded staff when she was a Superior Court judge to campaign for the high court in 2003 and again in 2009.
If the Supreme Court is deadlocked, the issue would revert to the Commonwealth Court.
“Right now, the ordinance we worked so hard on lays in limbo,” Bigi said.
In other business, resident Leigtha Korintus asked township officials to inform Washington County 911 that Odessa Drive is in Carroll. Korintus said she had to recently direct an ambulance to her house.
Police Chief Paul Brand said police are getting 911 calls for Odessa Drive.
Brand said he would call 911, which might have to be informed that the drive is split between Fallowfield and Carroll townships.