Counties in Pa. lack power to regulate drilling drilling in state


By Mary Grzebieniak

news@vindy.com

NEW CASTLE, Pa.

Lawrence County has no power to regulate oil and gas well drilling despite potential danger to residents, county commissioner Steve Craig lamented when commissioners met Tuesday.

Craig was commenting on a notification from HRG Engineers of Cranberry Township about a gas-drilling permit for a Perry Township property north of Pleasant Hill Road. Drilling applicant is Rex Energy of Seven Fields, Pa.

Craig said the plans include a 6.2-million gallon impoundment of water upstream from the Connoquenessing Creek, which serves as Ellwood City’s public water source. He stated it would be “calamitous” if there were a leak, but pointed out that the county has no legal authority to put any safeguards in place. Municipalities also have little say, he said.

The Perry Township project also involves construction of a 104,000-square-foot gravel well pad, which Craig said is “the size of a Walmart.”

Also Tuesday, commissioners announced the Lawrence County Courthouse will be closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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