MWA & Protect ET Granted Intervenor Status in AEC Appeal

On September 19, 2016, the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas granted Protect Elizabeth Township (Protect ET) and the Mountain Watershed Association (MWA) intervention in Allegheny Energy Center’s (AEC) appeal of a June decision made by the Elizabeth Township Zoning Hearing Board.  AEC’s appeal is an attempt to overturn the Board’s determination to deny a use, noise, and height variance that would allow AEC to develop a gas-fired power plant in a zoned suburban residential neighborhood.  

AEC’s argument — that they should be allowed to evade the more traditional route of requesting a re-zoning — relied heavily on comparisons to a PA Supreme Court case which allowed a variance for a parking lot to be developed on a brownfield.  Board members and residents agreed that a power plant is wildly dissimilar to a parking lot and denied AEC’s variance request.  

As Intervenors, MWA and Protect ET can now legally support the Board’s decision, which came after a multiple evening hearing in which experts and community members presented on the dangers of living near shale gas infrastructure.  By granting the petition to intervene, the Court has recognized that MWA and Protect ET have a legally enforceable interest in the appeal via their members, many of whom live in close proximity to the proposed plant.  MWA looks forward to being able to fight for the rights of Elizabeth Township and to protect the Youghiogheny River from further destruction from shale gas infrastructure.