Free ‘Webinar’ Today On Local Controls Of Natural Gas Drilling

From Potter County Today

A free “webinar” is scheduled for today (Thursday, July 15) at 1 pm on a topic of interest to many Potter County residents — especially township officials. It’s entitled “Natural Gas Development Land Use Controls” and can be seen by anyone with internet access. See signup details below. Kurt Hausammann Jr., planning director for Lycoming County, will be the presenter. After the program, participants will be able to ask questions. Sponsored by Penn State Cooperative Extension, the webinar will provide an overview of land-use planning strategies as shale gas exploration intensifies in Pennsylvania. Local governments may not enact specific ordinances targeting gas-drilling operations. However, there still may be some avenues to assert influence, and Hausammann identifies local zoning regulations as the best tools for the job. “If you don’t have zoning, there’s nothing you can do.”

With gas drillers now seeking an average at least three permits per week and even more activity forecasted, Lycoming County is working with more than a dozen municipalities to adopt a zoning ordinance that regulates gas well locations based on issues of health, safety and public welfare. The primary limit on drilling is based on population density. The ordinance also contains noise regulations and voluntary “best management practices” involving setbacks, pipeline routes and other aspects.

Information about how to register for the webinar is available at http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas/webinars or by calling Joann Kowalski at 570-278-1158.


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