Allegheny County Township Budgets For Legal Fight Over Drilling

  • Scott Detrow

An interesting line item in South Fayette, Allegheny County’s new budget, as reported by the Post-Gazette: “The spending plan earmarks $20,000 for defending the township’s Marcellus Shale regulations against a legal challenge by natural gas driller Range Resources.”
Range Resources has leased about 4,000 acres for drilling in South Fayette, but the municipality’s strict zoning regulations have effectively barred gas extraction from taking place within its borders. The company has filed suit, claiming the township’s regulations overstep its legal authority.
South Fayette bans drilling in residential areas, and requires rigs to be a minimum of 2,500 feet from schools, and 1,000 to 1,500 feet from a home. That’s according to the municipal zoning primer posted at the Post-Gazette’s Pipeline website.
Supporters of the two impact fees in front of the state House and Senate say the measures’ restrictions on local zoning aim to eliminate effective moratoriums like South Fayette’s.

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