Frivolous Lawsuit Delays H&H Drilling in Westmoreland County, PA

Huntley & Huntley has plans to drill shale wells in Upper Burrell Township (Westmoreland County), PA. As MDN reported in June, a landowner in Upper Burrell filed an appeal against Upper Burrell’s zoning ordinance that allows drilling in rural, agricultural districts (see Westmoreland Zoning Challenge Heads to Court, Delays H&H Drilling). H&H plans to drill a well near where the woman lives, and she’s arguing such drilling will violate the state’s environmental rights clause and “devalue her property.” 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. Last month the judge said he would make a decision in the case “next month” (meaning in August) about whether or not the town can issue conditional use in agricultural-residential zoning district (see Westmoreland Zoning Challenge re H&H Wells Closer to Resolution). But on Monday, the judge put the case on pause again because the landowner has sued the town claiming the town’s very right to issue conditional use permits in agricultural-residential districts is unconstitutional. A hearing on that charge will happen in October. H&H is in a holding pattern, thanks to a frivolous lawsuit…

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