The other issue that has recently developed as a result of the Marcellus Shale play stems from the installation of pipelines or transmission lines from the wells. Some municipalities havve been approached by companies to use the municipality's right of way to install transmission lines. This creates a serious problem as there is no legal authority for a municipality to grant the use of its right of way to a private company.
A municipality may grant the use of its right of way to public utilities. However, most of these companies do not meet the definition of a public utility. This issue was addressed in a case from Crawford County back in 1988. In Strawn v. C.&K. Well Managemnt Inc. the Court was faced with a company which wanted to construct a pipeline from a well to an ultimate point of sale. The Township gave permission to the company to run the pipeline in the Township's road right of way. Some property owners that abutted the road in question filed suit for the removal of the pipeline. The court agreed.
Several appellate cases have also looked at the definition of utility and would exclude these companies from the definition.