HARRISBURG, PA — In response to a recent Commonwealth Court decision on the future of Chester Water Authority (CWA), House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and Rep. John Lawrence (R-Chester/Lancaster) have called on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to review the matter. The case, Chester Water Authority v. Aqua Pennsylvania Inc., dealt a blow to the continued independence of the water authority.
“The CWA board has steadfastly and responsibly served the hundreds of thousands of customers who rely on this municipally provided service,” Cutler said. “The Commonwealth Court’s ruling undermines the board’s rightful position to continue to recognize the best interest of its customers and sets a dangerous precedent for all water consumers in the Commonwealth. We strongly urge the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to take a closer look at this case.”
The Chester Water Authority Board rejected an unsolicited $320 million takeover offer in 2017. Subsequent lawsuits focused on whether the CWA Board or the city of Chester have ultimate authority to approve a sale of the water authority. After a Delaware County court decided in favor of CWA, an appeal to the Commonwealth Court reversed the lower court’s ruling.
Last Friday, Cutler and Lawrence filed an Amici Curiae, or Friend of the Court brief, asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to review the case. They contend a 2012 law eliminated any ability of the city to order a unilateral sale of CWA.
“The law is clear,” said Lawrence. “Act 73 of 2012 abolished Chester city’s control over the CWA board. It is outrageous to suggest that years later, the city can override the clear intent of the Legislature, take control of CWA and sell it to the highest bidder.”
Founded in 1939, Chester Water Authority serves over 200,000 customers in Chester and Delaware counties. In addition to water treatment facilities, the authority owns and operates the Octoraro Reservoir, and water pipelines connecting the reservoir with the Susquehanna River and facilities in the city of Chester.
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