Ohio Township, PA Supervisors Pass Ordinance to Restrict Marcellus Shale Drilling Activities

Supervisors in Ohio Township (Allegheny County), PA last night voted to approve an ordinance that places restrictions on Marcellus Shale drilling in the Township. According to Township Solicitor Mike Witherel, the previous ordinance, passed in 2003, placed no restrictions on drilling. The new ordinance puts in place common sense restrictions on drilling activities.

The ordinance limits drilling within 1,500 feet of any residence, business, school, religious institution, swimming pool or other public building; requires companies to install a 6-foot-high safety fence around its operations; restricts drilling to between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.; and requires companies to provide police and fire officials with an emergency plan.

There is a $500 penalty for violations.*

Some residents who attended the board meeting objected to the new ordinance on the basis that all drilling should be stopped until more is known about the impacts of drilling, but Mr. Witherel stated that the state’s Oil and Gas Act prevents local municipalities from prohibiting drilling.

*Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (May 3, 2011) – Limits on gas drilling adopted in Ohio Township