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Municipal News

By J.R. Brower

Although residents are already aware that natural gas drilling activities will eventually begin to occur in Peters Township, they turned out in full force to express their concerns at a public hearing on January 19.

The hearing was held due to the fact that the township had to amend its mineral extraction ordinance in order to comply with new state regulations. Highlights of the changes proposed for the ordinance by Peters Township Council include:

  • Allowing drilling to take place in industrial zoned areas, which, according to Township Manager Michael Silvestri, comprise about 150 acres.
  • Invalidating the township’s Mineral Extraction Overlay District that previously allowed drilling in 15 areas, all zoned residential.
  • Adding environmental protections for ground water and fresh water including impoundments. Applicants will now have to account for the flow directions of potential hazardous liquids spillage.
  • Placing the burden of proof directly on drillers to meet environmental requirements according to state laws.
  • Requiring drillers to spell out in advance where and how gas and liquids will be transported via pipelines.
  • Requiring that setbacks for drilling pads be at least 750 feet from any structure, plus reserving the right to increase setbacks based on physical characteristics of the site and additional evidence received during the hearing process.

Hearing: Attendees at the public hearing on Peters Township’s revised drilling ordinance included both township and area residents, who felt the need to give their opinions on the whole process of hydraulic fracturing and natural gas extraction. Officials reminded residents that when drilling commences in the township, it will relatively limited in scope and highly regulated.

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