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Pine Supervisors to Consider Oil and Gas Drilling Ordinance

Three property owners in township already have contracts with gas companies, according to Supervisor Frank Spagnolo.

Pine supervisors are considering an ordinance to control oil and gas drilling in the township as . 

Three land owners in the township already have contracts with gas companies, Supervisor Frank Spagnolo said as the draft ordinance was discussed at Tuesday night's Board of Supervisors meeting.

After the meeting, Spagnolo declined to say who the land owners are, but confirmed that he is not one of them.

Solicitor Gary Gushard said the draft ordinance is based on one developed by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors that has been customized for Pine.

The efforts might be somewhat academic, he said, considering what is going on in Harrisburg.

"I think we will have some people in Pine who want to do it and some against it at all costs," said Gushard.

The draft ordinance takes the middle road, he said.

"The bill (in Harrisburg) gives us no say," said Supervisors Chairman Michael Dennehy. Companies can drill in your back yard, by a cemetery or in a cemetery, he added.

The township should at least be able to say where companies can drill, said Dennehy.

"I realize we need to put some protection in, but I think this is going too far," said Spagnolo, noting that drilling could mean millions of dollars to a property owner.

Goushard said the draft would not allow drilling in the R1, R2 and R3 residential zones.

"That's 50 percent of the township," Spagnolo replied, and "commercial is all grown up."

Although drilling usually is allowed in industrial zones, "we don't have an industrial zone," said Gushard.

Drilling would be permitted as a conditional use, which means each applicant would need to come before the supervisors for review and a public hearing, he said.

The draft ordinance has been sent for review to the township's Environmental Advisory Council, Planning Commission and the county's Economic Development Department.

The process of bringing the ordinance before the supervisors for a vote could take 45 to 60 days, township officials said.

 

 

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