Murrysville, PA Drilling Ordinance – Anatomy of a Compromise

Westmoreland County, PA – click for larger version

Pennsylvania State regulations require a “setback” of 500 feet from the bore hole of an oil or gas well when it’s drilled. That means there can be no habitable structures (house, school, barn, etc.) within 500 feet of where the hole gets drilled. Last fall in Murrysville Township (Westmoreland County), the town council proposed a 1,000 foot setback–doubling the state requirement. Such a setback would eliminate much of any future drilling planned in the town. Public hearings were held and the Marcellus industry let it be known a lawsuit will follow if the town persists in such a restrictive setback ordinance. After much toing and froing, Murrysville Town Council approved a new ordinance on May 3–with a 750 foot setback from the edge of the well pad (not from the bore hole). It’s still quite restrictive, but apparently acceptable to the industry. Only one town council member (out of seven) voted against the new ordinance–an anti-driller…

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