4 Marcellus Wells Approved in S Buffalo Twp – Concerns Discussed

In 2012 Pennsylvania under then Gov. Tom Corbett passed the Act 13 law, a major revision to PA’s oil and gas laws. Part of Act 13 would have established a uniform set of zoning ordinances, replacing and superseding any such local ordinances. But then seven selfish towns got together and sued to the state to retain the right of imposing their own zoning ordinances for some oil and gas development. The lawsuit was a years-long process with the case ending up at the PA Supreme Court–where the seven selfish towns won the right to impose their own ordinances on o&g development–up to a point (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). Nowadays, PA towns have their own ordinances to deal with issues like truck traffic, noise, lights, setbacks and more. Fine. It is what it is and instead of a consistent set of rules, drillers are faced with a crazy quilt of differing rules across different townships. Snyder Brothers, which has already drilled several Marcellus Shale wells in South Buffalo Township (Armstrong County), wants to drill four more Marcellus wells in the town–next door to their previously drilled wells. So they applied for “conditional use” permits from the town to drill them. Town supervisors granted the permits, but not before conducting a public hearing where residents sounded off about the project. What is interesting about the hearing is that none of the residents opposed the new wells–but they did have some tough questions for Snyder Bros. about lights and noise and water wells. Good questions. Honest questions. Tough questions. And Snyder Bros. answered those questions and made promises/assurances to local residents. This is how a free, open and democratic society works. This is how adults behave. Give and take, back and forth, in a spirit of “let’s do it right the first time so we don’t have problems.” Hats off to the residents and supervisors of South Buffalo Twp, and to Snyder Brothers, for showing the rest of PA (looking at you Peters Twp) how it’s done…

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