Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in the case of Application of Philadelphia Electric Company for finding of necessity for the situation of a pumphouse to contain pumping and accessorial equipment on a site located at the intersection of Bradshaw and Moyer Roads in Plumstead Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, No. A-00103956.
Robert J. Sugarman, with him, K. W. James Rochow, Sugarman & Hellegers, for petitioner.
Christine B. Garvey, Assistant Counsel, with her, Charles F. Hoffman, Chief Counsel, Louise A. Knight and Edward G. Bauer, for respondent.
Bernard Chanin, with him, Pamela S. Goodwin, Of Counsel: Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen, for intervenor/respondent, Philadelphia Electric Company.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Craig, MacPhail, Barry and Colins. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Colins dissents. Judge Palladino did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 99 Pa. Commw. Page 636]
Once again, we must consider and dispose of a challenge to the construction of facilities to supply water for cooling a nuclear generating station in Limerick, Montgomery County, and meeting the citizens' requirements of Bucks and Montgomery Counties.
As before, we are obliged and intend to confine our consideration to the merits of the precise legal issues presented, despite the widespread public discussion and disagreement inspired by the construction. See Sullivan v. County of Bucks, 92 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 213, 499 A.2d 678 (1985), and Del-AWARE Unlimited, Inc. v. Department of Environmental Resources, 96 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 361, 508 A.2d 348 (1986).
As we wrote in Sullivan and Del-AWARE, the purpose of the Point Pleasant water diversion project (project) is to construct a system by which Delaware River water could be withdrawn by the Point Pleasant Pumping Station and pumped through a combined transmission main to the Bradshaw Reservoir and Pump House (Bradshaw). From Bradshaw, the proposed site of which is Plumstead Township, Bucks County, (1) water for public use by Bucks and Montgomery Counties would travel through the north branch transmission main, discharge into the North Branch Neshaminy Creek and flow along the creek to the north branch water treatment plant where it would be pumped, in part, to the North Penn and North Wales Water Authorities and (2) supplemental cooling water for the Limerick nuclear generating station, owned by the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO), would be pumped
[ 99 Pa. Commw. Page 637]
through the east branch transmission main, discharge into the East Branch Perkiomen Creek and flow along the creek to the Perkiomen Pump House where it would be withdrawn and pumped to Limerick. Supplemental cooling water is necessary because PECO is denied access to Schuylkill River water for several months each year.*fn1
Del-AWARE Unlimited, Inc. (Del-AWARE),*fn2 now appeals a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) order determining that the proposed site of the Bradshaw pumphouse is reasonably necessary for the convenience or welfare of the public, thus exempting it from local zoning ordinance provisions under Section 619 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (Code).*fn3
Our scope of review of a PUC decision is limited to a determination of whether an error of law has been committed, constitutional rights have been violated or any findings of fact are unsupported by substantial evidence. Norfolk and Western Railway Co. v. ...