PA Appeals Court Clears Way for EQT to Drill Jefferson Hills Well

In December 2015 MDN told you about EQT’s application to drill a single shale well in Jefferson Hills (Allegheny County), PA (see Jefferson Hills, PA Antis Oppose EQT Well Near Future School Site). The well would be drilled “near” where a new school is due to be built, which provided anti-fossil fuelers with an excuse to oppose the project. As part of the a conditional use permit, EQT agreed to (a) not use Borough roads during construction, (b) use a pipeline from a local water company instead of trucks for the water needed to drill and frack, greatly reducing the amount of truck traffic, (c) pledged the project would not impact local streams and wetlands, (d) comply with local lighting regulations, and (e) install sound walls if needed. In other words, EQT bent backwards, forwards, sideways, jump through numerous hoops and turned itself inside out to comply with requests from the town. The Borough Planning Commission unanimously approved the conditional use permit request. But then the town, bowing to pressure from local antis, rejected the request in December 2015, saying the proposed project would endanger local health and the environment. In other words, they had no basis for rejecting the permit. EQT sued and won in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in June 2016. Jefferson Hills appealed and last week, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania upheld the EQT verdict saying the town arbitrarily rejected the permit and EQT should be allowed to drill…

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