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Moon Officials to Adopt Revised Ordinance for Marcellus Shale Drilling

Township supervisors will hold a public hearing on the matter tonight.

The Moon Board of Supervisors will vote on adoption of a new oil and gas drilling ordinance following a public hearing at 7 p.m. at the municipal building. 

Supervisors will adopt one of three versions of the revised ordinance, which must be modified to include restrictions specific to Marcellus shale drilling. 

"The first step and the only prerogative for the township is determining the zoning, where in the township this could take place," said Marv Eicher, chairman of the Moon Board of Supervisors. 

The township must comply with new conditions of the state's Act 13 law concerning Marcellus shale drilling activities in the state. 

In 2011, the Pennsylvania General Assembly approved a piece of legislation, known as Act 13, that stripped local lawmakers of the ability to control oil and gas drilling within their municipalities. 

Moon officials spent much of that year working to revise the township's existing oil and gas drilling ordinances to include provisions regulating Marcellus shale drilling. 

The township scrapped those plans when Act 13 was approved. 

But after more than a year of legal wrangling over the controversial statewide law, municipalities again have some jurisdiction to regulate drilling activity

"We have a special counsel and they have advised us that our current ordinance does not comply (with Act 13)," Eicher said. "And by state law you have to permit drilling in some areas of the township." 

Moon planning director Adam McGurk said no company has applied for a drilling permit in the township. The that surrounds Pittsburgh International—much of which is located in Moon. 

Each of the three ordinances that will be considered tonight prohibits drilling in residential areas. 

"My impression is that it just makes good land use sense to not permit drilling in a residential area," McGurk said. 

Of the three versions of the ordinance: 

  • One version of the ordinance would allow drilling to take place in all areas of the towship other than residential districts.   
  • A second version of the ordinance would limit drilling to areas including open space and airport districts and prohibit it in districts zoned for commercial and educational use.
  • "The third option is a sort of merger of those two," McGurk said.
  • View the media in this article to view a matrix of the drilling ordinances.

"I'm assuming there will be people coming from one side saying we think you should not have any drilling, and people coming from the other side saying we don't think you should restrict it in any way," Eicher said. "Once I've listened to what people say, I'll cast my vote accordingly." 

Check back in with Patch for coverage of tonight's meeting. 

clearfield December 05, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Remember, that a vertical well ends up moving horizontally for miles underground. In addition, one well will extract over 4,300,000!!!! gallons of fresh water from our drinking source to pump out the gas as it is mixed with toxic chemicals. http://www.museumoftheearth.org/files/marcellus/Marcellus_issue7.pdf

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