Newtown Supervisors Discuss Proposed Ordinance to Allow Fracking
At the March 19, 2018, Working Session of the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, the proposed "Oil & Gas Drilling" (i.e., fracking) ordinance of the Newtown, Upper Makefield, and Wrightstown "Jointure" (JMZO) was discussed. Supervisor Jen Dix asked for the Board's opinion of this proposed ordinance that would allow fracking in the Quarry area of Wrightstown. Participating in the discussion were Supervisors Phil Calabro, John Mack and Township Manager Kurt Ferguson as well as Jerry Schenkman, of the Law Offices of Sean Kilkenny, LLC.
Back in January, 2017, local environmental activist Steve Bacher introduced Gordon Yeager as a speaker at a meeting hosted by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. Mr. Yeager is a Counselor & Advocate at Curtin & Heefner LLP. At this meeting he talks about the pros and cons of Newtown Township, Upper Makefield Township and Wrightstown Township (the Jointure) enacting an anti-fracking ordinance. View the video below or click here.
Here's some language from the proposed addition to the JMZO ordinance:
AN ORDINANCE OF NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP, UPPER MAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP, AND WRIGHTSTOWN TOWNSHIP AMENDING THE NEWTOWN AREA JOINT MUNICIPAL ZONING ORDINANCE (JMZO) OF 1983, AS AMENDED, TO ADD A NEW USE, G-17 OIL AND GAS DRILLING, PROCESSING, AND TRANSPORT.
A new Use, G-17 Oil and Gas Drilling, Processing, and Transport shall be added to Section 803 of the JMZO which shall provide as follows:
Oil and Gas Drilling, Processing, and Transport. This use is limited to the extraction, recovery and removal of subsurface oil and gas deposits through direct on-site drilling as defined and set forth in the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act (“Act” - 58 Pa.C.S.A. §3201 et seq.) and the regulations enacted thereto. This Use does not include the recovery and removal of any other subsurface minerals, such as coal, gravel, sand, clay, topsoil, stone or any other mineral other than oil and gas, such activities being covered by Use G-14, Quarry. This Use G-17 is permitted subject to all of the following requirements.
Subject to the following provisions, this Use shall be permitted as a principal use, by conditional use approval, only upon land located within the following zoning districts: RI Rural Industrial District, and QA-A Quarry/Agriculture-A District. This Use is prohibited on any property subject to a conversation easement, open space restrictions, or any similar constraints and limitations, whether public or private.