Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Upper Burrell Township Close to Drilling Ordinance

Liz Hayes of the Valley News Dispatch reports that the town supervisors of Upper Burrell (east of Pittsburgh, PA) aren’t ready to approve their gas-drilling ordinance just yet. Residents, offering numerous suggestions at Monday night’s public hearing, asked their town officials to delay approval of the ordinance until more of their concerns could be addressed.

According to Hayes, the supervisors didn’t vote on the proposed law but remarked that they would have to pass the ordinance soon. They want regulations, even if imperfect, in place soon.

The ordinance would prohibit Marcellus wells from all areas of the township except for residential/agricultural and industrial zones. But, the law would require companies hoping to drill in an area zoned RA to obtain a special exemption.

Requiring special exceptions would give the township more chances to place restrictions on drillers in those zones, says the town’s attorney. That’s because a hearing would be required for every application. Other issues addressed by the ordinance include:

  • road maintenance
  • noise and hours of operation
  • emergency response
  • protective measures such as fencing
  • and providing details of the well operation to the township 

Items not included in the ordinance that residents would like to see:

  • water sources to supply fracking
  • disposal plans for waste fluids
  • disclosure of chemicals used
  • requiring air testing
  • increasing setbacks to 1,000 feet from homes
  • and concerns over flaring
You can read Hayes' more detailed report of last night's public hearing here.

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