These are boom times for shale gas exploration but towns and municipalities like South Fayette Township are concerned that it should be controlled and limited, adopting zoning ordinances that would keep drilling away from schools and residential areas.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is striking down provisions that stripped the power that municipalities had over where natural gas drilling activity could occur.
The impact of the conviction and resignation of former Justice Joan Orie Melvin is already being felt with a stalled decision on a matter of vital importance.
Can the state force municipalities to allow drilling pads in residential neighborhoods like the one in South Fayette or within 300 feet of a school like South Fayette Elementary? That’s the question before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and more than 100 anti-drilling advocates who showed up to voice their opposition to Act 13.
Shale gas drilling sites have sprouted up throughout the region in recent years, and now the towns that host them – like Peters Township – are getting back a piece of the action.
Last year, City Council banned shale gas drilling in Pittsburgh, but Act 13 would trump that ban, saying state law not local zoning regulations will determine where drilling rigs can go.
South Fayette Township officials are headed to court to fight a new state law that would allow shale gas drilling close by.