Environmental concerns cited again as Pittsburgh suburb rejects another shale gas permit

ENVIRONMENT For the second time in a month a zoning board in Penn Township — a rural suburb about 20 miles east of Pittsburgh — has rejected a request for a small drilling company to construct a shale gas site.

Shale development in the area has been a hotly contested issue among residents, township officials and the drillers that want to set up shop. (Read PublicSource’s in-depth story about the community’s struggles.)

Part of the project: Clearing the air

Residents’ concerns prompted plans to expand DEP air quality monitoring near shale gas sites in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced today it will expand the state’s air quality monitoring network for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) into more areas around compressors stations and near many shale gas wells.

Calling the move “unprecedented,” DEP Secretary John Quigley said during a press webinar that the state could soon have one of the largest air quality monitoring networks in the country.

“We heard the concerns of shale field residents and we are responding,” Quigley said.

A Pittsburgh suburb just denied a shale gas permit based on environmental concerns

Citing environmental concerns, a zoning board has denied a permit request by a small drilling company to build the second shale gas well pad in Penn Township, a rural-residential suburb about 20 miles east of Pittsburgh.

“The applicant has failed to adequately demonstrate that the drill site operations will not violate the environmental rights of the citizens…” the decision for the Beattie Central Pad-37 states.

(Photo by Connor Mulvaney/PublicSource)

Inside the fight to frack Penn Township

This is not the first community to experience shale drilling, and it won’t be the last. But its exposure to the tumult of first-time drilling and the controversies it brings provides a window into what it’s like for people on all sides of the debate.