Manufacturers' application with that of Texas Eastern Corporation to determine why Texas Eastern could not sell to Manufacturers the additional volumes of gas needed in the defendant's eastern market area, and thereby obviate any necessity for the construction of Manufacturers' facilities through Chester County.
The Commission also issued Show Cause Orders on Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Trans-Continental Gas Pipeline Corporation, to determine why these two companies could not supply the alleged needs of Manufacturers and thereby obviate the necessity for defendant's facilities.
However, the Federal Power Commission did not suspend the temporary certificate issued to Manufacturers on August 5, 1966. Proceedings were begun in this Court on October 21, 1966. The present petition for a preliminary injunction was filed on November 17, 1966 and, at plaintiffs' suggestion, the hearing was scheduled for December 8, 1966.
Conclusions of Law
At the outset, this Court concludes that there has not been a sufficient demonstration of irreparable injury to warrant the extraordinary relief of injunction; nor does it appear that the plaintiffs are without an adequate remedy at law in Pennsylvania. See, 5655 Acres of Land & Coal, etc. v. Texas Eastern Trans. Co., 190 F. Supp. 175 (W.D.Pa.1960). See also, Williams v. Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp., 89 F. Supp. 485 (D.S.C.1950).
Aside from the contention of irreparable injury, the plaintiffs have raised two distinct questions of constitutionality as the basis for injunctive relief. Initially, plaintiffs have challenged the constitutionality of § 717f of the federal Natural Gas Act as violative of the due process guarantees of the United States Constitution, specifically contending that the Federal Register publication of notice was inadequate. See e.g., Schroeder v. City of New York, 371 U.S. 208, 83 S. Ct. 279, 9 L. Ed. 2d 255 (1962). However, the Federal Power Commission has issued only a temporary certificate to Manufacturers and, in its order of November 15, 1966, has made ample provisions for plaintiffs to intervene. Thus the issue of adequacy of the notice to plaintiffs is prematurely raised, in light of continuing agency proceedings.
The second constitutional contention advanced by plaintiffs concerns § 2031 of the Pennsylvania Natural Gas Companies Act. On this issue, this Court will abstain. The reasons for abstention are cumulative. The Chester court proceeding, begun prior to this suit, involved a determination of complex matters of state law. That court faced difficult questions as to which statutes were applicable as well as how to properly construe these statutes. These complex matters of state law, initially concluded by the Chester County court, await final determination by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after argument on the appeal. In such a posture, abstention is proper. Louisiana Power and Light Co. v. Thibodaux City, 360 U.S. 25, 79 S. Ct. 1070, 3 L. Ed. 2d 1058 (1959); see generally, 1 Barron and Holtzoff Federal Practice and Procedure § 64 (Wright ed. 1960, Supp.1965); cf., County of Allegheny v. Frank Mashuda Co., 360 U.S. 185, 79 S. Ct. 1060, 3 L. Ed. 2d 1163 (1959). These cases are authority to hold that abstention is proper here to avoid an unnecessary determination of the constitutionality of the Pennsylvania eminent domain statutes applicable in this case. As the Supreme Court has stated in City of Meridian v. Southern Bell Telephone Co., 358 U.S. 639, 641, 79 S. Ct. 455, 457, 3 L. Ed. 2d 562 (1959):
"* * * when the state court's interpretation of the [state] statute or evaluation of its validity under the state constitution may obviate any need to consider its validity under the Federal Constitution, the federal court should hold its hand, lest it render a constitutional decision unnecessarily."