Last week, the PA Chamber partnered with the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry in submitting an amicus brief to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court urging them to consider a case that could have far-reaching implications on Pennsylvania employers and communities.
The case involved East Whiteland Township in Chester County and their desire to sell their sewer system to Aqua under Act 12 of 2016, which established a framework for municipalities to sell their water or wastewater systems. In this case, the Township and Aqua agreed to the sale, followed the Act 12 process, and it was approved by the PA Public Utility Commission, only to be stopped by a Commonwealth Court Judge. The chambers are collectively urging the Supreme Court should take up the case and reverse the lower court decision.
The chambers argue that this decision, if allowed to stand, could chill private-sector investment and discourage public-private partnerships that benefit communities, local governments, and employers. More broadly, this decision could represent a significant expansion of court authority, if a judge is empowered to unilaterally reject a transaction agreed to by both parties that is consistent with legislation passed by the general assembly, approved by the governor, and found by the regulatory body to be compliant.
The chambers now await word from the Supreme Court on whether they will take up the case.