Mt Pleasant Township, PA Passes Conditional Use Ordinance – But Drilling had Already Ended Anyway

After two years of work and numerous revisions, the supervisors of Mount Pleasant Township in Washington County, PA have finally passed an ordinance that controls oil and gas drilling in the township, although at this point it likely won’t make much of a difference according to Range Resources.

…a spokesman for Range Resources Inc., which has drilled 100 gas wells in the township since it first tapped into the Marcellus Shale in 2004, said the company has no further plans to drill in Mt. Pleasant aside from the wells it already has drilled.

The ordinance calls for each natural gas drilling well to be permitted as a conditional use, allowing the township to place certain conditions on drilling activity at each well site. Those conditions could be different from site to site, depending on location, topography or proximity to a school.

The ordinance prohibits bunk housing of site workers, which also is prohibited by the township zoning ordinance. However, acknowledging that certain supervisory personnel – generally not more than 6 – are required to be continually on site during certain operations, "supervisory trailers" will be permitted.

The ordinance is similar to what was adopted in Robinson Township, said Attorney John Smith. He said the language in that ordinance was agreed to by Range Resources and Chesapeake Energy.*

*Observer-Reporter (Jun 23, 2011) – Mt. Pleasant Twp. supervisors adopt oil and gas ordinance