Driller files first fracking application for Murrysville

Drillers waited for seven years as Murrysville officials fine-tuned, re-examined and tweaked their fracking ordinance.

On the heels of its approval in late May, Monroeville drillers Huntley & Huntley have requested state permits for the Titan Well Pad project, a drilling pad proposed for property just west of the intersection of Bollinger and Hilty roads in eastern Murrysville.

Huntley wants to build a 4-acre well pad and access road on the 71-acre property, along with the attendant stormwater management.

Murrysville council members voted 6-1 in May to approve their fracking ordinance, which places setbacks at 750 feet from any protected structure to the edge of a well pad.

Debate surrounding the fracking ordinance centered mostly on setbacks: Gas industry officials and Murrysville residents who have leased their rights to drillers have consistently pointed to the state's 500-foot setback as a reasonable standard. Most residents who spoke against reducing the setback did not see it that way, asking council to impose at least a 1,000-foot setback.

Council ultimately settled on 750 feet in a vote that split its members 4-3, with outgoing members Joan Kearns, Jeff Kepler and David Perry preferring at least an 800-foot setback.

Council members who voted in favor of the 750-foot setback pointed out that the distance from the edge of a well pad to the actual well bore holes provided an additional, unspecified setback.

The Titan proposal is the first project to enter the municipality's development pipeline since the ordinance was updated and approved.

At their most recent appearance before council, Huntley officials discussed plans toperform seismic testing throughout Murrysville this winter, sending sound waves into the ground to map below the surface.

Murrysville Chief Administrator Jim Morrison told council that Huntley was requiredto notify them, but the well pad will not be council's agenda anytime soon.

“It'll be six to nine months at the state level, most likely, and then it will come before council,” Morrison said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com. 

Trib Live - Driller files first fracking application for Murrysville

Posted: 12-26-2017


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