Ranges Resources Files Court Challenge Against Allegheny County Township's Drilling Regulations

  • Scott Detrow

Perhaps buoyed by two successful attempts to overturn local drilling bans in West Virginia, Range Resources is challenging an Allegheny County township’s natural gas drilling regulations in court.
The AP has more on the Range-South Fayette Township legal battle:

The ordinance requires drillers to obtain a land operations permit for each well, and creates buffers around schools, hospitals and certain types of businesses.
Range Resources contends the ordinance is illegal because it says a state law that regulates drilling pre-empts and supersedes it.
As such, Range Resources says it is being “deprived of its legal right to develop its oil and natural gas property interests” on about 4,000 acres it has leased in the township.


The energy industry has long complained about what it views as unfair local drilling regulations. In May, Marcellus Shale Coalition president Kathryn Klaber made the case for more consistency, when it comes to local ordinances, in front of Governor Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission.

Klaber’s request to Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Commission was “clarity and consistency” in local laws governing natural gas drilling. She pointed out the gas deposit stretches through 37 Pennsylvania counties and 1,491 municipalities.  “If you were going to take a drive across Pennsylvania, and you needed to get a new license in each community you went through, that’s really the conditions in which the industry is operating,” she said.
Klaber complained a handful of municipalities – most notably Pittsburgh — have passed regulations banning drilling or hydraulic fracturing within their boundaries, and argued those ordinances violate state law. She said other municipalities have accomplished the same result, through zoning restrictions targeting drilling, “including up to 1,500 feet from a resident, 2,500 feet – it goes on and on. All sorts of different setbacks from all types of structures,” she explained.  “And what you really get in those types of situations, I guess it would be an effective ban. Because by the time you do that many setbacks, there isn’t any other area within that municipality to place the industry’s activities.”

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