Thursday, June 8, 2017

Commonwealth Court Affirms Lower Court Ruling On Zoning Ordinance Allowing Drilling

In an opinion Wednesday, Commonwealth Court affirmed a Butler County Court of Common Pleas decision to deny a challenge by the Delaware RiverKeeper Network, the Clean Air Council and local residents to a local zoning ordinance allowing Marcellus Shale gas drilling.
Among other objections, the Court specifically rejected claims that Middlesex Township, Butler County violated Article I, Section 27 of the state’s constitution-- the Environmental Rights Amendment.
The case involved an oil and gas permit issued to R.E. Gas Development, LLC (Rex) on a farm owned by Robert Geyer in an area zoned agricultural and residential.
In August 2014, Middlesex Township supervisors enacted an ordinance over the objection of the Township’s Planning Commission to expressly provide for the use and regulation of oil and gas operations in the Township.
In September 2014, DEP issued a permit for the drilling pad on the Geyer farm site and objections to the ordinance were filed in October 2014.
Commonwealth Court disagreed with all the objections raised by the appellants to the Butler County Court decision.
A copy of the opinion is available online.

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