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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Moon Supervisors retain special counsel to advise on oil and gas ordinance 
Posted: April 28, 2011 from moontwp.com

The Moon Township Board of Supervisors at their April workshop meeting agreed that reevaluating the township’s oil and gas ordinance – with a focus on Marcellus Shale natural gas – will be a top priority this spring.
At the April 27, workshop meeting, the board voted to retain Tucker Arensberg, P.C. as special counsel for matters related to oil and gas well activity in Moon Township. The township’s regular solicitor recused itself from Marcellus Shale matters, because the firm represents industry clients.
Moon Township has not yet received any land use requests for Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling within township borders. But as the Marcellus Shale gas industry continues to grow, the board is reexamining its oil and gas ordinance to ensure that it addresses current drilling standards, technologies, and practices to protect the township’s best interests.
The township’s current zoning ordinance defines oil and gas activities as a conditional use, which would require any application to go through a public hearing process. Approval would be contingent on requirements ranging from fencing, noise and light regulations to bond postings to cover wear and tear on township roadways.
In its current form, however, the ordinance does not limit drilling to specific zoning districts, which is an option that the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission will consider as they work with special counsel Tucker Arensberg. Moon Township’s Environmental Advisory Council also will provide input.
Meanwhile, the Supervisors have been reviewing information from a variety of sources to familiarize themselves with Marcellus Shale, industry practices and the potential impact of natural gas drilling. As part of that learning process, the board plans to visit a Marcellus Shale well site this spring to get a first-hand look at a drilling operation.
“The more we know and understand about the Marcellus Natural Gas Industry, the more effective our oil and gas ordinance will be,” said Jim Vitale, chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “We’re also encouraging residents to participate in this discussion and share their input.”
Marcellus Shale will be an ongoing discussion item at public meetings of the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission throughout the spring and summer. Residents are encouraged to follow the process by attending public meetings, visitingwww.moontwp.com or calling the municipal building at 412-262-1700.

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