NE PA Town Votes to Prohibit Drilling, Approve Wind Farms

Officials in Spring Brook Township (Lackawanna County), PA voted last night to prohibit shale gas drilling in half of the township while at the same time they approved designated areas for commercial wind farms. Those same officials acknowledged their vote to ban gas drilling may be meaningless under the newly passed Marcellus drilling state law about to be signed by Gov. Corbett, but they went ahead and voted anyway, having worked a year-and-a-half on the new zoning changes.

"We don’t even believe there is any gas here," Supervisor Joe Zurcher said, but lawmakers wanted rules in place to "protect the residents of the township" and to mitigate potential impact on local roads just in case.

Under the change, about half the township is off-limits to gas drilling, while in the other half gas drillers would be subjected to restrictions on noise and lighting and regulations governing which roads could be used to access wells, township consultant Mary Liz Donato said.

"We’re disappointed if (ultimately) we have no control," Supervisor Chairman Jack Flyte said.*

*The Scranton Times Tribune (Feb 10, 2012) – Spring Brook lawmakers pass rules to prohibit gas drilling