On Monday, supervisors for Forward Township (Allegheny County), PA unanimously approved what is believed to be the first (and perhaps an illegal) zoning ordinance targeting and extensively regulating both gathering and transmission pipelines in the township. Sunoco is building a low-pressure liquid-gas transmission pipeline from a processing plant in Houston, Washington County that passes through about 275 properties in Forward to a distribution point in Delmont, Westmoreland County.
The town solicitor has said existing pipelines are not affected by the new ordinance. Problem is, interstate transmission lines are regulated by the federal government, and smaller gathering pipelines are regulated by the state. Pipelines are not regulated by municipalities. A lawyer at Babst Calland makes this observation on the ShaleEnergyLawBlog.com: