A lawyer offers sample laws to Back Mountain towns concerned about drilling.
DALLAS TWP. – The Back Mountain Community Partnership was advised Thursday afternoon to separately pass ordinances that may help protect against gas drilling issues.
The partnership is an intermunicipal group composed of Dallas, Franklin, Jackson, Kingston and Lehman townships and Dallas borough.
Attorney Jeffrey Malak, who is solicitor of the group, explained it would be better for each municipality to enact its own ordinances rather than to pass joint partnership ordinances because each municipality has its own unique needs.
Malak provided an example of an ordinance, created by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Solicitors, which addresses height regulations of equipment, setbacks, access roads, wells, tanks and storage.
He also furnished sample dust, noise and light pollution ordinances and a sample road bond agreement. In addition, he provided a copy of Dallas’ zoning ordinance, which restricts drilling to certain areas of the borough and deals with screening and buffering and outdoor lighting issues.
Malak said such ordinances would take in all types of businesses but cannot be specific to natural gas drilling because the Oil and Gas Act of 1984 specifies the state oversees drilling. He stressed a lot of ordinances can be incorporated to help and that the municipalities are not limited to revising their zoning laws.
“We don’t know what’s allowed, what’s not, until we try some different things….” Malak said. “It’s a very, very complicated issue and like I said, it’s not a one size fits all.”
In other news, Tom Yoniski, a representative for state Sen. Lisa Baker, announced the senator’s office has arranged a meeting regarding gas drilling to be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on May 13 at Lake-Lehman Junior/Senior High School.
Yoniski said Penn State University officials will give a presentation on gas drilling. He said that officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission will also attend.
Also, Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition members Karen Belli and Leeanne Mazurick, both of Dallas Township, gave a brief presentation on gas drilling and its impacts on the environment and the community.
Coalition member Audrey Simpson, of Kingston Township, showed a video she created of Dimock Township residents who were negatively affected by gas drilling.