CHC Update – Planning Commission recommends drilling in CZ

Greetings Friends,

Take Action! 
Two legislative bills (H.B. 1950 and S.B. 1100 ) currently under consideration in Harrisburg would pre-empt all local ordinances attempting to regulate Marcellus drilling in their municipalities & replace them with a weakened State regulation allowing Marcellus drilling even in residential areas.  These bills would restrict Indiana County from regulating drilling in the conservation zone.Please sign this petition to our elected officials!! This petition is being circulated by CHC’s state partners and friends, including the Sierra Club:

“Oppose PA HB 1950 & SB 1100 which would pre-empt strong local ordinances regulating Marcellus drilling in Pennsylvania and replace them with weak and inadequate State regulations.”

To sign this petition

County Planning Commission recommends drilling
This week the Planning Commission voted on recommended revisions to the ordinance that governs the conservation zone. County staff worked hard on stronger protections, extending the definition of the intent of the conservation zones to define uses as those characterized by low-volume traffic generation, and non hazardous and non polluting processes which are fully contained within the property. Dust, light pollution, and glare are also added as environmental concerns.

However, the recommendations do not offer the strongest protection, and will allow drilling in the conservation zone with lighter requirements than MDS accepted with the Yellow Creek well.  Horizontal extraction, and coal mining are simply permitted in both the conservation zone, as well as the 500ft. buffer zone.

Attached you’ll find a summary of changes, and an annotated spreadsheet that lays out where aspects of drilling fall between Permitted, Special Exception, and Prohibited.  And for all you planners out there, here you can find the full DRAFT of the amendment, with remarks from the county’s chief planner.

The Planning Commission will officially submit their recommendations to the County Commissioners this Wednesday, 11/16 10:30am, County Courthouse.  The commissioners will then have 60 days, and a public hearing for input. SEE YOU THERE!!

(Incidentally, the planning commission also expressed frustration at the passage out of committee of HB1950, which, as currently written, would nullify all of their work over the summer and fall. The planning commission voted to submit a letter to the state legislature expressing their frustration, and desire to retain municipal zoning authority over oil and gas drilling).

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