Murrysville council hears from residents on drilling question

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Council is expected to approve creation of bid specifications for drilling under Murrysville Community Park when it meets April 16. 

In the meantime, some residents at the April 2 council meeting urged Murrysville council instead to scrutinize the local gas drilling ordinance and find ways to increase the local government’s ability to regulate drilling operations.

Monroeville-based energy company Huntley & Huntley proposed in February to pay the municipality about $585,000 for the gas rights and 12.5 percent royalties for drilling under the 262-acre park, although no drilling activities would take place on park property.

But in light of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Act 13, the state’s law regarding gas and oil drilling, some residents say the time is right to tighten local laws.

Linda Marts, a board member for Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Murrysville, urged council to postpone the decision on bid specifications until municipal drilling regulations have been revisited. She also asked council to consider creating an industrial district to keep drilling out of residential areas.

Chief administrator Jim Morrison said a task force has been created to review municipal drilling regulations.

"Residents’ rights come before gas leasing," Primrose Lane resident Alyson Holt said. "There is not enough time for the community to make an informed decision.”

Residents may get some help with that: Mr. Morrison announced that the first education session on the implications of drilling will be held at 7 p.m. April 29 at the municipal building.

Tim Means, freelance writer:

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