State Impact published a report Monday regarding how the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has for the past two years hired a public relations firm with ties to the Marcellus Shale Coalition to advise it on Act 13 and other zoning regulation matters related to the industry.
The story by NPR reads:
The law firm of McNees, Wallace and Nurick is an associate member of the gas industry trade group, the Marcellus Shale Coalition. The firm’s attorneys routinely represent energy companies before the state Public Utility Commission (PUC).
In fact McNees is currently representing Sunoco Logistics in a high-profile case before the commission. The company is seeking permission from the PUC to be considered a “public utility corporation,” which would exempt its Mariner East pipeline from local zoning codes.
McNees has also spent the past two years working as outside legal counsel to the PUC– advising the PUC on its authority under the state’s two-year-old oil and gas law, known as Act 13. The firm was hired in 2012 and has received $29,593 for its work so far.
A political science professor in the story is quoted as saying the situation is “pretty bizarre.”
And let me know what you think.