Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cranberry Looks to Limit Shale Drilling

Cranberry Township’s Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing at 6:30pm Thursday (2525 Rochester Rd. 16066) on an ordinance that would limit where in the municipality a company could drill for Marcellus Shale gas. State law requires every municipality to provide for every type of activity, meaning Cranberry cannot just make shale drilling illegal. Cranberry Township Chief Planning officer John Trant says the ordinance would limit drilling to just a handful of zoning districts. The ordinance identifies those zones as TLI (Transitional Light Industrial), PIC (Planned Industrial/Commercial), IL (Light Industrial), and SU1 (Special Use). Trant says he cannot guarantee that there will never be drilling near a residential area but the zones were chosen to have the least contact possible with residential areas. He says there are still hundreds of acres of land available to drilling. “We certainly realize that there are lots of opportunities that come about related to this drilling so we want to provide areas where it could be permitted but mitigate impacts on existing, and potentially future, neighborhoods as well as the township’s road system,” says Trant. The ordinance would apply to all types of gas drilling but it would not cover how the drilling is performed. “Cranberry Township has no ability to get involved in issues related to how the drilling operations work, what kinds of chemicals they’re using or the other things we keep hearing about in the news,” Trant said. “Cranberry Township is focused on zoning for this use, which is appropriately within the Board’s ability to regulate.”

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