Like soldiers retreating to their respective camps for the night, Cecil Township and MarkWest Liberty Midstream & Resources have laid down their arms, at least for now.
On Wednesday, Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court agreed to place a stay on a lawsuit MarkWest filed against the township until the state’s Supreme Court renders a decision on the zoning provisions of Act 13. MarkWest asked for the stay and the township signed off on it.
The dispute dates to March 2011, when Cecil’s zoning hearing board turned down a request by MarkWest to build a natural-gas compressor station on Route 980 near Coleman Road. The board said it was not appropriate for an area zoned for light industrial use and was not an essential service. MarkWest countered by filing suit in Washington County Court and, in June, asked Commonwealth Court to let it build the compressor station at that site, saying it would be allowed under Act 13, which became law in February and created statewide oil and gas-drilling regulations.
However, the zoning provisions of the law were found to be unconstitutional by Commonwealth Court in July, and Cecil asked the court last week to throw out the MarkWest suit.
Cecil, along with Peters, Mt. Pleasant and Robinson townships, were among the municipalities that challenged the constitutionality of Act 13. They have asked the Supreme Court for a speedy hearing of the appeal, which was filed by the Public Utility Commission, state Attorney General Linda Kelly, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and Michael Krancer, the department’s secretary.