Boro to sue over pipeline


The borough council of Montrose has voiced its collective opposition to the extension of a water pipeline to Dimock in recent months. But at the Dec. 6 meeting, council opted to take an official step against it.

Following an executive session, the council passed a resolution to have borough solicitor Marion O’Malley pursue a lawsuit that will possibly be lodged against the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania American Water Company.

Prior to the executive session, audience member Lynn Senick asked council on what basis the borough would litigate. She also inquired about how the suit would be paid for and if there was any discussion about bringing suit before the December meeting.

O’Malley recommended the council members not discuss the matter because a decision to litigate had not yet been made at that time.

Barbara Clifford, of Montrose, said, “Are you going to make a decision without any discussion?”

Council member Sean Granahan said, “We have had three full months of discussion.”

Senick said, “I’m not challenging (council’s) right to bring suit but what is the basis and how is it funded?”

O’Malley said there had been previous discussion regarding attorney fees and the borough would be billed separately for the work required to be done for a lawsuit.

William Aiello, of Dimock Twp., provided the council with a letter drafted by Dimock Twp. supervisors on Dec. 6 objecting to the proposed water pipeline construction.

In the letter to PAWC’s Daniel Rickard, the Dimock supervisors noted concerns about the project.

The letter states that no serious studies of the capacity of Lake Montrose have been conducted; the approved Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for Susquehanna County prepared by the Northern Tier Planning and Development Commission does not envision water pipeline service to the Dimock area; and several alternatives to the pipeline have not been seriously evaluated.

The Dimock supervisors also noted that the project was first proposed as a PennVest loan to PAWC. However, $11.6 million of the project cost came in the form of a grant.

The letter states: “In a time of excess government debt the gifting of $11.6 million to a for-profit corporation like Pennsylvania American Water Company must be approached with great caution and consideration.”

Borough council also received letters from Sen. Gene Yaw and Reps. Sandra Major and Tina Pickett. The state legislators all stated concerns about the funding of the proposed project with taxpayer money.

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