Marcellus Energy Company Contests PA Community's Drilling Rule

An appeal filed this week marks the most recent attempt by Marcellus drilling companies to contest local drilling rules. The Allegheny Front's Ann Murray has more about the legal wrangling over where deep shale gas wells can be located in one small community south of Pittsburgh.

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OPEN: An appeal filed this week marks the most recent attempt by Marcellus drilling companies to contest local drilling rules. The Allegheny Front's Ann Murray has more about the legal wrangling over where deep shale gas wells can be located in one small community south of Pittsburgh.

MURRAY: Last year, South FayetteTownship passed a drilling ordinance. The ordinance sets up buffer zones around schools, hospitals and certain commercial areas. Range Resources, a Fort Worth-based energy company, says by limiting drilling, South Fayette's regulation is effectively banning gas production throughout the township. Range plans to appeal the ordinance to the local zoning board. Matt Pitzarella, a company spokesman, says that Range wants local governments to have consistent statewide rules so that companies, landowners and communities can plan ahead.

PITZARELLA: But Pennsylvania is only state where you canít do that because there are no minimum baseline laws here.

MURRAY: Pitzarella says if Range doesn't get anywhere with South Fayette authorities, the company will take its case to the courts. Local officials have told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and others that the township's ordinance allows drilling in ìmany zoning areas".

For The Allegheny Front, I'm Ann Murray.