Dechert, Price & Rhoads, Robert J. Sugarman, Philadelphia, for appellants.
Gibbons, Buckley & Smith, D. Barry Gibbons, Media, for appellees, Delaware County Community College, et al.
W. Charles Hogg, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellee, Central Delaware County Authority.
Howard Farber, Media, for intervening appellee, Township of Marple.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Packel, JJ. Manderino, J., filed a dissenting opinion.
On March 5, 1972, the Department of Environmental Resources issued a permit to Central Delaware County Authority for an interceptor extension sewer designed for the use of Community College of Delaware County and for potential use arising out of future development of the area.*fn1 Mrs. Cyril G. Fox and Natural Lands Trust, Inc., filed a
timely administrative appeal to the Environmental Hearing Board.*fn2 After a hearing the Board denied a petition for supersedeas and subsequently, after an adjudication, entered its final order vacating the permit and remanding the case "to the Department for further studies and proceedings consistent with this adjudication."
The Authority appealed to the Commonwealth Court on May 20, 1974. On June 12, 1974, that Court granted a supersedeas and reinstated the permit. After exceptions were filed, the Court, on June 29, 1974, affirmed the order of supersedeas. On July 18, 1975, the Commonwealth Court reversed the Board and ordered reinstatement of the permit.
On appeal to this Court briefs were filed by the parties; by an intervening party, Township of Marple; and by the following amici curiae, Department of Environmental Resources, Environmental Law Council of the University of Pittsburgh Law School, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association. We are asked to affirm or to reverse. The amicus brief of the Department of Environmental Resources requests us to modify, reverse or narrow the decision of the Commonwealth Court. All the briefs raise serious questions of broad significance with respect to the impact of Article I, Section 27, of the Pennsylvania Constitution upon the functioning of an administrative agency.
At the oral argument in which all the interested parties participated this Court was informed that the sewer extension involved is built and in operation, and no one objects to its continued use by the Community College. Accordingly, there arises the question as to whether there is ...