Sunday, April 14, 2013
As the Marcellus Shale industry expands in western Pennsylvania—and individual property owners start to benefit—issues often become controversial, especially when it comes to the environment.
Marcellus Shale is here to stay. Like its natural resource predecessors—coal deep mining and strip mining, natural gas and oil wells, and logging—Marcellus Shale drilling brings jobs and a source of energy for businesses and consumers. Like its predessors, Marcellus Shale drilling also brings and will most likely leave behind environmental concerns. Today, there's mine insurance today for those who own homes and businesses above areas that were mined for coal 100 or more years ago. Reclamation efforts were mandated in 1977 to restore areas destroyed by strip mining and why there's always a danger of an oil or gas well fire or leak into waterways. Reforestation replaces trees lost to the logging industry. Already, Marcellus Shale has raised…
Friday, February 8, 2013
Hundreds pack Robert Morris University for a public hearing on Marcellus shale gas drilling at Pittsburgh International Airport. The potential deal could generate an estimated $500 million for the airport.
Former Moon resident Gary Sheffler said his civil engineering firm PVE Sheffler struggled in the years after U.S. Airways abandoned its hub and cut flights at Pittsburgh International—a move that triggered a downturn in the overall airport corridor economy. "To put a personal face on this, my company went from 15 employees down to three employees," said Sheffler, speaking before hundreds Thursday at a public hearing at Robert Morris University. The burgeoning natural gas drilling industry in Western Pennsylvania has helped his company grow to hire a staff of 70, he said. "I would have a hard time telling 70 people with families and kids, 'I think we have got to shut it down because of the environment,' " he said. Allegheny County …
Monday, October 15, 2012
But Cecil and three other local communities will have their portions withheld until the state reviews their drilling ordinances.
Gov. Tom Corbett announced Monday that Act 13 has generated more than $204.2 million through the new impact fee. Most of this money will be distributed directly to local communities across the state—Pine Township's share is $355.66 and Richland Township will receive $357.23. Four communities' funds are on hold—Cecil Township, Mount Pleasant, Robinson and South Fayette. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that those communities will have their share of the local impact fee witheld until their ordinances governing drilling have been reviewed by the state and deemed in compliance with Act 13. In all four instances, residents lobbied the Public Utilities Commission to review those ordinances. In addition, Range Resources also filed a request …
Thursday, July 26, 2012
The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued its opinion Thursday morning—calling the local zoning provisions of Act 13 unconstitutional.
The state Commonwealth Court on Thursday struck down portions of Pennsylvania’s newly enacted legislation governing Marcellus Shale operations—also known as Act 13—and declared them unconstitutional. The 54-page opinion filed by President Judge Dan Pellegrini stated: “Petitioners allege that they have close to 150 unconventional Marcellus Shale wells drilled within their borders, and Act 13 prevents them from fulfilling their constitutional and statutory obligations to protect the health, safety and welfare of their citizens, as well as public natural resources from the industrial activity of oil and gas drilling. Petitioners allege that Act 13 requires them to modify many of their zoning laws.” The petitioners, which included a cluster of…
Friday, July 6, 2012
Republicans Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal stopped in Oakland Friday on their bus tour of Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Pittsburgh was a political playground Friday, with the Democratic and Republican parties rallying only hours apart. U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair), former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal stopped by Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland to show their support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. All three spoke mainly about jobs and the economy. Pawlenty and Jindal, both Republican vice presidential hopefuls, are touring Pennsylvania and Ohio on the tail of President Barack Obama's “Betting on America” bus tour, which stopped just blocks away on Friday at Carnegie Mellon University in Oakland. During the rally, Murphy spoke out about the importance of this upcoming election…
Monday, June 25, 2012
This time, the Supreme Court denied a request by Marcellus Shale industry representatives to be a party to the challenge against Act 13.
The Supreme Court on Friday denied representatives from the Marcellus Shale industry the opportunity to participate in an appeal of the injunction against Act 13 filed by multiple municipalities, a doctor and a nonprofit. The Public Utilities Commission and the state appealed the Commonwealth Court decision to grant an injunction in the case regarding the zoning portions of the law. Industry representatives had also asked the Commonwealth Court to be a party to the suit. That was denied. Seven municipalities filed the lawsuit on March 29, stating that Act 13 unconstitutionally strips municipalities of the power to regulate gas wells and related hydrofracturing activities, including pipelines and compressor stations. Senate President Pro …
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Do you support Gov. Tom Corbett's proposal to give Shell Oil a $1.65 billion tax break?
Gov. Tom Corbett wants to give Shell Oil tax credits worth $1.65 billion over 25 years so the company will build a refinery in western Pennsylvania to capitalize on the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom, according to Businessweek. Corbett says the deal could help reinvigorate manufacturing in Pennsylvania and create jobs. Critics say Shell would probably bring its business to the state without the tax incentives. Corbett has also been criticized for cutting social services and school funding. Shell is the world's second largest company by revenue and made profits of $31 billion last year. Tell us your opinions in the comments section.
Monday, April 23, 2012
The incumbent was first elected in 2001 to represent the 28th House District.
Rep. Mike Turzai is sitting in the catbird seat when it comes to the 2012 election. The ballot for April's primary told it succinctly: No one challenged the incumbent for the Republican spot on the ballot for the 28th Legislative District seat and the Democrats ran no one for the seat either. Unless something extraordinary happens, Turzai (R-Bradford Woods) will be re-elected in November to the seat he has held since 2001. He currently represents the citizens of Pine, Richland, Marshall, McCandless, Bradford Woods and Franklin Park. A proposed redistricting plan would drop Richland from his district in the future. The House Republican Caucus elected Turzai to serve as the majority leader for the 2011-12 session. In that role, he speaks …
Friday, April 20, 2012
Motions to intervene made by industry representatives and leaders of the state House and Senate were denied Friday.
Motions filed by members of the state Legislature and the Marcellus Shale industry to intervene in a legal challenge to Act 13—the commonwealth’s new law regulating drilling and related activities—were denied Friday. Argument on the matter was held in Harrisburg Tuesday, and the ruling is the latest movement in the challenge filed by a cluster of municipalities, one organization and a medical doctor who have said the new regulations are unconstitutional. In the order, senior Judge Keith B. Quigley ruled that the interests of the Pennsylvania Gas Association, Marcellus Shale Coalition, MarkWest, Penneco Oil Co. and Chesapeake Appalachian would already be well represented by the court. It also ruled that Senate President Pro Tem Joseph …
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
'Pre-existing ordinances must remain in effect until or unless challenged pursuant to Act 13 and are found to be invalid,' the order read.
A Commonwealth Court judge on Wednesday afternoon granted a preliminary injunction regarding the state's new Marcellus Shale law, known as Act 13. The order means that implementation of portions of the new law slated to go into effect Saturday will be delayed for 120 days. The order reads: "While the ultimate determination on the constitutionality of Act 13 is not presently before the Court, the Court is of the view that municipalities must have an adequate opportunity to pass zoning laws that comply with Act 13 without the fear or risk that development of oil and gas operations under Act 13 will be inconsistent with later validly passed local zoning ordinances." It continues: "For that reason, pre-existing ordinances must remain in effect…