Pennsylvania

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Allegheny County Hits “Pause” On New Setbacks

Allegheny County is preparing to approve an impact fee on natural gas wells within its borders. But as the Tribune-Review reports, the county is putting the breaks on regulations setting buffers between wells and buildings:

Council’s Economic Development & Housing Committee voted 2-0 today to recommend a fee on deep-shale oil and gas wells for final approval at council’s next full meeting. If passed under the state’s new oil and gas laws, the fee would raise about $270,000 for the county and its municipal governments to split in 2012, according to Tribune-Review calculations.

Other rules the committee discussed — to push drilling farther from schools, homes and water — it held for legal review. For more than a year Michael Finnerty, D-Scott, has sponsored a bill to prohibit drilling within 1,000 feet of homes and schools and 500 feet of surface water and drinking water sources, but it’s likely the state laws passed in February ban rules such as that from local governments.

The impact fee, now known as Act 13, bars local governments from enacting zoning regulations that go beyond its parameters. A 1,000-foot setback would do just that.

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