PA County Judge Rules Rex Can Begin Drilling First Martian Well

My Favorite MartianAs we have long chronicled, a few anti-drilling parents from the Mars School District (Butler County, far western part of the state), backed by a couple of Big Green groups from the other side of the state (in the Philadelphia area), sued Middlesex Township to stop shale drilling in rural portions of the county. Rex Energy had applied for, was legally permitted for, but still hasn’t been allowed to drill a series of wells some three-fourths of a mile from the Mars School (for background, see our long list of “Martian” stories here). This is the outrage: These very same anti-drillers fought hard to overturn a portion of the 2012 Act 13 law that took zoning of oil and gas out of the hands of local towns and put it in state hands. The zoning portion of Act 13 was overturned by the PA Supreme Court. The antis got what they wanted–except, it seems, they got a little too much of what they wanted. They didn’t factor that in some towns there would be a majority who favor fracking and shale drilling–like in Middlesex. Middlesex ran an extensive series of nine hearings over seven months and eventually adopted zoning ordinances that allow Rex to drill. So the antis sued to stop what they previously sued to achieve. Eventually a group of landowners counter-sued the antis (rightfully so) for denying them access to allow drilling on their own land. That lawsuit is still playing out in the courts. Last Thursday a Butler County judge ruled, once again, that the zoning ordinances adopted by Middlesex are legal and therefore drilling can commence. The antis will appeal the decision and continue to try and block local landowners from legally using their own property as they see fit…

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