Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jan's Updates March 19, 2012

County Commissioners Meeting this week
If anyone is able to attend the commissioners meeting on Thursday please contact Jan Kiefer who is coordinating this effort.
Meetings are 10:00 at the county court house.
please check our last update, which is also posted at our Westmoreland Marcellus blogspot if you would like more details and to read statements presented by others. jan m.

from debbie on Legal Challenge:

Mt. Pleasant joins legal challenge to new state Marcellus law
HICKORY – Mt. Pleasant Township supervisors during a special meeting Saturday opted into a proposed municipal challenge to a new state law that lifts local zoning regulations on the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry.

Supervisors voted 2-1 to join with as many as 40 municipalities in Pennsylvania to possibly seek an injunction in Commonwealth Court to stay the implementation of Act 13 signed into law in mid February by Gov. Tom Corbett, a move the local governments believe violates the state Constitution.

The Marcellus Shale industry lobbied for the law because it felt it couldn’t operate efficiently each time a driller crosses a municipal line and must meet different local zoning rules, township solicitor William A. Johnson said.

The municipalities in opposition feel Act 13 violates the Constitution by its repealing of their right to set such regulations as limiting the time such operations can drill and placement of lighting, as well addressing issues regarding roads and pipeline construction, Johnson said.

Under Act 13, each municipality must amend its zoning laws by mid-August to relinquish Marcellus Shale control to the state to qualify for the new locally shared natural gas impact fee the law requires drillers to pay. In all, Washington County municipalities stand to split about $7.4 million the fee will generate.



Nockamixon to fight law that supersedes local zoning barriers to gas drilling.
March 17, 2012
|By JD Malone, Of The Morning Call

Rapp Creek, shallow and clear, spills down a rock outcropping and burbles through the woods a few yards from Janie and Larry Stangil's back deck in Nockamixon Township, a few hundred feet from the proposed site of a natural gas drilling operation.
Thousands of gas wells have popped up across central and western Pennsylvania as oil and gas companies moved to tap enormous deposits in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations, but no one has ever drilled in Nockamixon, let alone Bucks County, and the Stangils would prefer it stays that way.
"We absolutely would rather not have it," Larry Stangil said as he sat at his kitchen table and stared at his calloused hands, which he used to fix cars for a living and build his own airplanes.
The scrubby, sprawling plot across Beaver Run Road from the Stangils' home has been targeted by oil and gas companies before, and according to theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency, two oil and gas wells exist on the property. The township parried past drilling proposals with zoning restrictions barring oil and gas operations on the 100-acre parcel owned byCabot Corp.of Boston.
Nockamixon's efforts may be moot, however, because Gov. Tom Corbett signed Act 13 in February, which amended the state's oil and gas regulations.
Act 13 dissolves the zoning rights of municipalities in regard to oil and gas "operations," a broad term that includes everything from well pads and drilling operations to pipelines and compressor stations. The law states municipalities must allow operations in all zoning districts. And they cannot place more stringent restrictions on setbacks, wells, and other zoning issues than those provided in Act 13 unless they apply those restrictions to all industrial activity.
In what could be a test case for the new law,Nockamixon plans to fight it in court. The township supervisors gave solicitor Jordan Yeagerapproval last month to rally other municipalities and build a lawsuit against Act 13. Yeager declined to identify specific municipalities he's talked to, but said some are in western Pennsylvania. No suits have been filed yet...