Gas-drilling rules to be reviewed

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HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvania officials are reviewing a second municipality's gas-drilling rules to determine whether Robinson's ordinance should prevent the township from receiving money from impact fees this fall.

The new request to the Public Utility Commission, outlined in a letter dated last Thursday, argues that the Washington County township has a local ordinance that encroaches on the state's authority to make environmental laws.

Robinson is among the municipalities challenging a new Marcellus Shale drilling law, known as Act 13.

"As a landowner residing within Robinson Township, I believe that enforcement of the current municipal ordinance has prevented the development of oil and gas from taking place," Rodger Kendall wrote in his letter to the PUC.

Mr. Kendall maintains the township ordinance requires different environmental protections than the state law. As a result, the township's impact fee revenues should be withheld until the commission's review is completed or the ordinance is revised, he wrote.

Under the new statute enacting the impact fee, any municipalities determined to have overreaching local rules are not eligible to receive fee revenues until their ordinances are adjusted.

Township officials could not be reached for comment.

The review request follows one filed earlier this month by a South Fayette resident to review that township's ordinance. South Fayette is also involved in the Act 13 challenge.

The municipalities have 20 days from the date they were notified of the review request to respond to the PUC. Commission officials have 120 days from the date of each request to issue a ruling on whether an ordinance is legal.

marcellusshale - neigh_west - neigh_washington

Harrisburg Bureau Chief Laura Olson: lolson@post-gazette.com or 717-787-4254.


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