Westmoreland Zoning Challenge Heads to Court, Delays H&H Drilling

Westmoreland County townships (Click for larger version)

In May MDN told you that Huntley & Huntley was conducting seismic surveys in Lower Burrell, in Westmoreland County, PA (see Huntley & Huntley Targets New Drilling in Westmoreland County, PA). When a company begins to conduct seismic surveys, you know that applications for drilling permits are not far behind. Next door to Lower Burrell is Upper Burrell. H&H plans to drill there too. A landowner in Upper Burrell filed an appeal against Upper Burrell’s zoning ordinance that allows drilling in rural, agricultural districts. H&H plans to drill a well near where this woman lives, and she’s arguing such drilling will violate the state’s environmental rights clause and (more importantly), “devalue her property.” Of course nothing of the kind has happened in areas where there is drilling. Quite the opposite, in fact. Still, the lawsuit is stopping H&H from sinking any new holes in the ground. The case was supposed to go to township’s Zoning Hearing Board, but all of the (many) lawyers involved agreed to instead move it to county court, making the process faster and less expensive. The only problem with that is the judge may decide to hold off on a decision until two similar cases are heard and decided by the PA Supreme Court. No telling how long that will take…

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