Monroeville, PA Antis Want 100% Ban on Fracking, Pipelines

Limiting fracking to an impossibly small 150 acres (out of 12,620 acres) that make up Monroeville–a mere 1% of the acreage–is not enough of a ban for radical antis in the municipality of Monroeville (suburb of Pittsburgh). They want it all banned–every single centimeter. The only problem with that is the Act 13 law, passed in 2012, requires each municipality to allow drilling in at least one zoned area. But hey, disobeying the law isn’t a problem for antis–they do it all the time. They are anarchists by nature. Last October, Monroeville Council passed a temporary ban on oil and gas well drilling everywhere except for those areas marked M-2 industrial zoning–a big change (see Monroeville, PA Hostile to Shale, Bans Drilling in Most Places). Previously, drilling permits were “conditional use” in Monroeville, meaning each permit was evaluated on its own merits, regardless of which zoning district it was located in. By limiting drilling to M-2, Council effectively banned drilling in the municipality. They passed the temporary ban until they could pass a new zoning ordinance that would set the frack ban policy in concrete. In January, Monroeville Council advertised their new zoning ordinance to FURTHER RESTRICT any kind of oil and gas activity–not just drilling, but pipelines, compressor plants, etc.–to a 150-acre parcel located next to the city dump (see Monroeville Pushes Ban on NatGas Activity, Incl. Drilling & Plants). Fantastically, unbelievably, antis in Monroeville aren’t happy with that 150-acre parcel exception–an old dump! They want drilling at the dump banned too…

Residents are complaining about Monroeville’s proposed oil and gas ordinance because they say its has been developed to accommodate companies that want to develop fracking wells in the municipality.

The concern centers on changes in the ordinance that would allow drilling in a 150-acre special conservancy zone that includes a landfill, instead of in heavy industrial areas where it is now permitted.

The landfill is owned by Waste Management, which has a lease agreement at the property with oil and gas exploration company Huntley & Huntley of Monroeville.

Resident Tom Henningsen during a recent council work session said Huntley & Huntley would benefit if wells are allowed in the conservancy zone.

“I can’t escape the conclusion that has something to do with why it’s appearing in the current ordinance,” he said about the lease agreement.

Monroeville solicitor Bob Wratcher dismissed the suggestion that the interests of oil and gas developers were considered when he was drafting the ordinance. He said the site was chosen because drilling would have less of an impact there and that the industrial areas might be too small for wells. He added that determining who had oil and gas leases in the municipality was not part of his research when drafting the ordinance.

A Huntley & Huntley official said his company years ago signed oil and gas leases at several Waste Management landfill sites in the region, but that doesn’t mean they would drill at all of them.

“Natural gas wells will not be possible on all of Waste Management’s landfill properties in the region,” Huntley & Huntley Vice President Paul Burke said in an email, adding that the company has no plans to drill at the Monroeville landfill. He also said there have not been well pads built on any of the Waste Management sites under the oil and gas leases acquired a few years ago.*

We renew our call for Huntley & Huntley, the shale driller whom this nonsense is aimed at, to relocate. H&H’s headquarters is located in Monroeville. Seeing Monroeville is so business-unfriendly, we think it’s time for H&H to take their business, along with the local tax revenue it generates, to a municipality that appreciates the oil and gas industry.

*Pittsburgh (PA) Tribune-Review (Feb 9, 2018) – Monroeville residents suspicious of proposed fracking ordinance

Posted: 02-13-2018


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