PETERS TWP. (KDKA) — The debate over Marcellus Shale drilling is heating up in one Washington County community.

Just one day after Peters Township council unanimously voted to let a judge decide whether a referendum on natural gas drilling can appear on the November ballot, the township solicitor went to court hoping to block it.

Peters Township Solicitor William Johnson wants to block the referendum that would give voters a choice of whether to ban natural gas drilling in their community.

But members of the Peters Township Marcellus Shale Awareness Group, or PTMSA, say it should be up to residents to decide what happens in their community. The group presented a petition with more than 2,400 signatures from residents who want the referendum to appear on the November ballot.

“Trust me, if it doesn’t make it on the November ballot, we’ll be back in the primary with the same petition,” PTMSA member Jet Miskis told KDKA-TV’s Brenda Waters.

“We’re not fighting for just our backyard,” another group member added, “we’re fighting for all backyards.”

A judge will hear arguments on the issue later this month.

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