Planning Commission Recommends Suspending Work on Marcellus Shale Regulations
In light of state legislation, Moon officials might temporarily suspend work on Marcellus shale zoning regulations.
The Moon planning commission has recommended that township supervisors suspend work on a Marcellus shale amendement to the township's oil and gas drilling ordinance.
The township's Board of Supervisors and planning commission have been at work in recent months crafting an amendment to Moon's oil and gas drilling ordinance that would include provisions specific to Marcellus shale drilling.
Township manager Jeanne Creese said the commission has recommended that supervisors halt work on the ordinance amendment pending the result of a combined Pennsylvania House and Senate bill that would allow drilling in all municipal zones.
House Bill 1950 and Senate Bill 1100 propose to amend Title 58, the state's Oil and Gas Act. A proposed piece of combined legislation would strip municipalities of the ability to control oil and gas drilling within their communities.
The proposed bill would put into place statewide regulations that would override community-specific zoning.
Supervisors have not yet acted on the recommendation.
"The planning commission has said that [amending the ordinance] could be a waste of time and money if those bills were to essentially wipe out the authority of the municipality," Creese said.
Township officials in recent months have worked to add language to the township's oil and gas drilling amendment that would regulate the location of drilling, noise control and road bonding. Supervisors have toured drilling sites in Washington County and earlier this year retained the Pittsburgh-based Tucker Arensberg law firm as special counsel.
"The planning commission recommended at [its] meeting that the board waits and sees what happens," Creese said. "The recommendation is only short term; if they need to act within some time they may still do so."