Peters Township Votes to Allow Fracking Under Town Property

Peters Township, the most populous township in Washington County, PA, is one of the seven selfish towns that sued the state in 2012 over the zoning provisions in the then-new Act 13 law, eventually winning at the PA Supreme Court level (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). The Act 13 victory gave townships like Peters the right to pass local zoning ordinances that restrict, but don’t outright ban, Marcellus/Utica drilling. Peters has been adept at using the victory to keep a defacto ban in place by “studying” the issue to death (see Peters Twp, PA Pretends to Debate Ordinance to Allow Drilling and Peters Twp, PA Continues to Delay Drilling by “Studying” It). Sooner or later you have to come down on one side or the other, and last September Peters decided to screw Marcellus drillers. Town council passed a new drilling ordinance (4-2) that says drilling is ONLY allowed in areas zoned for industrial uses, which rules out areas zoned for agricultural uses, where most drilling happens (see Peters Twp Gives the Middle Finger to Drillers One Final Time). Even the theoretical drilling that would happen in industrial areas, a grand total of 138 acres in the township, will have to be a “conditional use” with loads of permits and reviews. So we found it quite ironic that Peters Township Council threw their lordly “principles” right out the window last Tuesday when they voted (5-2) to give EQT a five-year lease on some of the township’s own land–for a signing bonus of $4,750 per acre, with 18% royalties–something they’ve denied every other landowner in the township…

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