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INTERSTATE TRAVELLER SERVICES v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/25/78)

decided: September 25, 1978.

INTERSTATE TRAVELLER SERVICES, INC., A/K/A TRI-COUNTY OIL COMPANY, INC., THE TOWNSHIP OF BOGGS AND BOGGS TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY, PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND MID-CENTRE COUNTY AUTHORITY, RESPONDENTS



Original jurisdiction in case of Interstate Traveller Services, Inc., a/k/a Tri-County Oil Company, Inc., The Township of Boggs and Boggs Township Authority v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources and Mid-Centre County Authority.

COUNSEL

Ronald M. Katzman, with him Joseph J. Savitz; Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald ; and Goldberg, Evans & Katzman, for petitioner, Interstate Traveller Services, Inc.

David A. Flood, Solicitor, for petitioner, Township of Boggs and Boggs Township Authority.

John P. Krill, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard L. Campbell; John R. Miller; Miller, Kistler, Campbell, Mitinger & Beik; Robert Moore ; and Shearer, Mette & Woodside, for respondents.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt and DiSalle. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 11]

The Department of Environmental Resources has filed Preliminary Objections to a Petition for Review brought by the Interstate Traveller Services, Inc. (Interstate), the Township of Boggs (Township) and the Boggs Township Authority (Township Authority) who are the plaintiffs in an action filed as a "Complaint in Equity," which by order of this Court is being treated as a Petition for Review addressed to our original jurisdiction.*fn1 They have alleged that they will suffer irreparable injury as a result of the actions of the defendants, the Department of Environmental Resources (DER) and the Mid-Centre County Authority (County Authority).

The plaintiffs have alleged in their complaint that, on October 10, 1973, Interstate, the Township and the DER entered into an agreement, according to which Interstate agreed to erect a local sewage treatment facility whose specifications would be approved by the DER, and to transfer the completed facility to the Township or to an authority created by the Township. The Township promised to reimburse Interstate and to enact ordinances imposing user charges and requiring the mandatory connection to the facility of all properties within a specified distance. The DER promised to issue the required permit to Interstate, which was done on October 16, 1973. Meanwhile, the DER had issued an order on October 12, 1973, directing the Township, the defendant Mid-Centre County Authority, and other governmental bodies in the area to enter into agreements to provide for a regional sewage system. The Township appealed this DER order of October 12, 1973, and it later sought to have its facility incorporated into the regional system,

[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 12]

    but this was rejected by the County Authority, which decided to locate its proposed regional facility on a site approximately 0.8 miles from the Township's plant. The result, the plaintiffs allege, is to render their plant and sewer lines useless.

In 1975 and 1976 the DER approved the design of the new Mid-Centre County regional sewage treatment plant and issued a permit for construction and operation of this facility. Subsequently, the County Authority commenced a declaratory judgment action against the Township and Interstate,*fn2 and the DER initiated a contempt action against the Township Authority and the Township, apparently based on the plaintiffs' refusal to cooperate in the planning and construction of the new regional facility.

The plaintiffs allege a conspiracy between the DER and the County Authority and claim that the DER has embarked on a course of conduct designed to interfere with and abrogate the agreements between the Township, the Township Authority and Interstate. Their prayer for relief requests injunctive relief including a stay of all actions instituted by the defendants.

Among their Preliminary Objections, the DER urges that the plaintiffs have failed to exercise or exhaust their statutory remedies, and that their Petition for ...


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