Peters Township takes no action on mineral extraction

Published Aug 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm (Updated Aug 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm)

No action was taken Aug. 19, when Peters Township Council held a public hearing on a proposed amendment to its zoning ordinance for mineral extraction.

The initial ordinance was passed in August of 2011, after numerous public hearings and meetings. The most recent proposed amendment deals with issued not covered in the 2011 ordinance such as seismic testing, compressor locations and additional mineral extractions.

Currently, no drilling for natural gas is occurring in the township. A date when council is expected to act was not announced and is dependent upon the time required to make any changes to the proposed ordinance.

The township is one of four municipalities embroiled in a lawsuit dealing with Act 13, with a decision in the hands of the state Supreme Court.

The state passed Act 13 with those restrictions overriding the initial township ordinance.

EQT Corp. has several acres under lease including about 82 acres in the township. Before any drilling may take place, seismic testing must be conducted. That testing will be done with a vibrator – about the size of a garbage truck – that will travel the township’s roads and on land that is accessible. Inaccessible land, mainly in rural areas, will be tested using pre-planted dynamite charges.

Michael Silvestri, township manager, said it does not appear that township property in Peterswood Park will be affected. However, Rees and Venetia parks could be tested.

One of those speaking at the hearing, Jett Miskis, has been very vocal in her concerns about how the township handles potential drilling.

She became emotional during Monday’s meeting.

“Why are you so angry?” asked Councilman James Berquist. “This is a public hearing.”

She was quick to reply, “I’m an excitable person. Deal with it.”

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