Local Town Slows CONSOL’s Plan to Drill at Pittsburgh Airport

More than a year ago the Pittsburgh International Airport, located about 20 miles west of downtown Pittsburgh, elicited bids to have shale drilling done on 9,263 acres of airport-owned land. After some toing and froing, CONSOL Energy was awarded the contract. After some more toing and froing, CONSOL raised the lease signing bonus to 50 million smackeroos (see CONSOL Increases Bonus Offer to Pgh Airport by 2.4 Times to $50M). Then the real work began. CONSOL has put together a plan to drill 47 wells on 6 well pads, building three water impoundments (see CONSOL Energy Reveals Drilling Plan for Pittsburgh Airport). CONSOL is going to extraordinary lengths with the airport project, including the use of all-electric drilling rigs (a first in the Marcellus). Problem is, three people on the Findlay Township board have the power to approve, or not, the permits to drill. Findlay has CONSOL by the proverbial short hairs, especially since the right to zone oil & gas activities by local municipalities was upheld when the Act 13 law was trampled by seven PA towns that sued and won in state Supreme Court–a decision handed down just a few months ago.

Last night CONSOL presented their safety plan to the three Findlay board members and interested local residents who attended the board’s regular meeting. The bone of contention (for some local residents) is the location for one of the proposed drill pads–about a half mile from a populated neighborhood. When the hour plus presentation by CONSOL was over, and local residents had had their say, the Findlay board members decided to postpone a decision to approve CONSOL’s permits, yet again…

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