St. Marys keeping close eye on gas drilling – TheCourierExpress.com: Local News

By Katie Weidenboerner katiew@thecourierexpress.com | 0 comments

ST. MARYS — Pennsylvania municipalities regained local zoning control of drilling activity when the state Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision to strike out a zoning preemption provision of Act 13 in December of 2013.

The provision sought to override local zoning laws for industrial activities related to natural gas drilling and replace them with a statewide uniform code, allowing gas companies to decide where they wanted to operate within municipalities, including residential zones.

With the overturn, St. Marys is looking to take advantage of the zoning control regranted to it through the decision as it is poised to be the next Marcellus Shale gas player for Seneca Resources.

Seneca is currently seismic testing 152 square miles in the county. With the wet summer slowing down the process, the company hopes to be done by the start of archery season Sept. 20. Then, the results will be assessed.

“That will help us to determine what the drilling program could be like here, more extensively in the Elk County region,” said Rob Boulware, Seneca’s manager of stakeholder relations.

Currently, two test wells, which are waiting to be fracked, have been drilled by Seneca on Flower Valley Road. A pad has been built on Haney Hill with plans to be developed in 2015. Another pad is starting to be built, to be developed in 2015, near the border of St. Marys and Ridgway Township.

For more details, read today’s edition of The Courier Express.

via St. Marys keeping close eye on gas drilling – TheCourierExpress.com: Local News.