Pa. Appeals Court Axes Local Drilling Ordinance Challenge

By Matt Fair (June 7, 2017, 4:06 PM EDT) -- A Pennsylvania appeals court agreed Wednesday that a recently enacted ordinance allowing oil and gas drilling in residential areas of a Butler County municipality withstood scrutiny because the pre-existing zoning code had already allowed construction of substantially similar public utility structures.

The state's Commonwealth Court found that Middlesex Township's so-called Ordinance 127, passed in August 2014 to explicitly allow oil and gas development within mixed residential and agricultural districts, was a logical extension of zoning provisions that were already on the books permitting public utility structures, including those for production of natural gas, to be built in the districts.

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