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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 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 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."

clearfield December 15, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Town of Middlefield, NY- LAND USE ANALYSIS: HEAVY INDUSTRY AND OIL, GAS OR SOLUTION MINING AND DRILLING (70 pg. report)... The Zoning Ordinance amendments, if adopted, would prohibit, “Heavy industry and all oil, gas or solution mining and drilling,” due to concerns for Middlefield’s health, safety, and general welfare from these potential land uses if they were to become established in the Town. http://www.otsego2000.org/documents/forwebsiteMiddlefieldLandUseAnalysis-Greenplan.pdf Chemicals include acids, biocides, corrosion inhibi- tors, defoamers, emulsifiers, gellants, resins, surfactants and viscosifiers. The Marcellus shale natu- rally contains high levels of salt and naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM), some of which will dissolve in the hydrofracking fluid. Estimates are quite variable and generally range from 9 and 35 percent or more (some up to 70%) of this fluid comes back out of the well as flow- back. The flowback contains high levels of total dissolved solids (mostly salt or sodium chloride) and NORMS, as well as added chemicals. The remainder stays underground....Chemicals that appeared most often include methanol, isopropanol, crystalline silica, ethylene gly- col, 2-butoxyethanol, hydrotreated light petroleum distillates, and sodium hydroxide.
clearfield December 15, 2011 at 03:37 PM
Their proper- ties vary; for example, 2-butoxyethanol (2-BE) is a foaming agent or surfactant in 126 products. Ac- cording to EPA scientists, 2-BE is easily absorbed and rapidly distributed in humans following in- halation, ingestion, or dermal exposure. Studies have shown that exposure to 2-BE can cause hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells) and damage to the spleen, liver, and bone marrow. In a separate study, the Pennsylvania DEP has derived a list of 54 chemicals that may be used during the process, including sixteen that affect 10 or more health effect categories (including skin, eye or sensory organs, respiratory effects; gastrointestinal or liver effects, damage to the brain, or cardio- vascular effects). These include benzene, acetone, arsenic, heavy metals, bromide, sulfate, toluene, and cylenes. Hydrofracking fluids sometimes contain diesel fuel. The EPA has stated that the use of diesel fuel in fracturing fluids poses a great threat to underground sources of drinking water. The hydrofracking solution that remains underground (typically 30-70%) has the potential for mi- gration into groundwater depending on rock composition and specific site characteristics. Research has shown that hydrofracking fluids can make their way into local wells, as can methane from the hydrofracking process. Trucks used by heavy industrial activities like hydrofracking often involve convoys of 100 or more trucks to a site when it is being mo- bilized and demobilized.
clearfield December 15, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Last night in Greentree: "Noting concern for the rights of citizens and an interest in keeping the power to make decisions about where Marcellus Shale drilling can take place, local lawmakers from 40 different western Pennsylvania municipalities showed up at a packed town hall meeting in Green Tree Tuesday with the hopes of halting progress of the bill, which combines House Bill 1950 and Senate Bill 1100. Both bills propose to amend Title 58, the state’s Oil and Gas Act. The local lawmakers present, representing six or seven counties and more than 40 individual communities, oppose the bill. They say it would take away the rights of local government to establishing zoning that protects the property and character of its community." So--where were the Moon Township officials at this meeting? Missing it?

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