Kingston Township, PA Passes New Ordinance Regulating Marcellus Gas Drilling

Supervisors from Kingston Township, PA (in Luzerne County) passed a new ordinance regulating oil and gas development in the Township (see embedded ordinance below). There is no current interest in drilling in the Township, but Supervisors said they wanted to be proactive and that there are some gas-related issues in the area, notably pipelines.

Supervisor Chairman James Reino Jr. said the ordinance may be the first like it in the state, and said it was developed over almost three years in order to protect the citizens of the township.

“We must have looked at more than 30 different ordinances,” said Reino. “There are some areas in which we have no jurisdiction.”

He added that if the township had tried to further restrict the industry outside of municipal planning code guidelines, which are mandated by law, the township would incur hefty legal fees brought on by lawsuits from natural gas companies.

He talked about subsurface activities, which include horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, and why under the ordinance these activities are allowed in all zoning districts.

“We do not have the rights to subsurface regulation,” said Reino.*

The ordinance makes drilling activities in the Township “conditional use” as opposed to “special exception.” That means the Board of Supervisors handle drilling requests, not the zoning board.

View a copy of the ordinance below.

*Five Mountain Times (Apr 14, 2011) – Kingston Twp. OKs gas, oil law