Range Resources Threatens to Stop Drilling in Mt. Pleasant Township, PA if New Ordinance is Passed

Range Resources, one of the largest drillers in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale, is threatening to stop drilling in Mt. Pleasant Township (Washington County), PA. A letter to landowners in the Township says, in part, “We may be forced to shift activity to other, more cooperative townships.”

Why the threat? The dispute seems to center on the type of permits that will be issued in the Township if a new ordinance is passed later this month.

The township has been working on a new oil and gas ordinance which is slated to be adopted by the end of the month. Range, [Township Supervisor Larry] Grimm said, "is dead set opposed" to gas drilling being a conditional use instead of a permitted use. Conditional use would require a public hearing on each well.*

Matt Pitzarella, a Range spokesman, responded via an email:

“If the township is still uncooperative, we are prepared to explore all options, including no longer drilling, which would cost landowners tens of millions of dollars in lost royalties. We don’t want to do that.”*

Range is hosting a meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Mt. Pleasant fire hall in Hickory to explain its future plans and its position. Range has previously drilled about 100 gas wells in Mt. Pleasant Township.

*Observer-Reporter (Apr 5, 2011) – Driller threatens to stop