Group asks for delay in solicitation of lease bids
A group of Murrysville residents want municipal officials to delay any decisions on soliciting bids for or leasing the gas rights under Murrysville Community Park until the municipal drilling ordinance has been revised.
Council is poised to vote Wednesday to begin soliciting bids to lease the gas rights under the 262-acre park. Several residents — including members of Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Murrysville, or CPRM — have agreed to circulate a petition to place a referendum question on the November ballot. The question would advise council on whether voters want the gas rights leased.
Some petition organizers think municipal officials are putting the cart before the horse.
“The proposed referendum is premature,” said Alyson Holt, a Murrysville resident who has organized a Facebook page to start dialogue for the petition. “Soliciting citizens' opinions might be the right course to take in the future, a prudent, wise course to take.”
Linda Marts, a member of CPRM, said officials need to consider that the current drilling ordinance could get the municipality sued. Marts said the drilling district — a portion of the municipality where surface drilling is permitted — that was created by the ordinance violates residents' rights.
“It's both unconstitutional and unlikely to withstand a challenge in court,” Marts said. “Expert attorneys could come up with new way of writing the ordinance both legally and flexible enough to allow Murrysville more oversight.”
A municipal task force is reviewing the drilling ordinance in light of last year's state Supreme Court ruling on the state oil and gas law. Marts suggested that municipal officials also hire an attorney to advise the task force.
She said she would like the municipality to require 2,000 feet of space between a drilling operation and any park land.
That's not enough for Sarah Schaut, who moved to Murrysville five years ago from Fox Chapel. A mother of three, she said if she now were a prospective homebuyer, she wouldn't consider buying in Murrysville because of Marcellus shale drilling.
“If I were in the same situation of searching for home in the Pittsburgh area now, I would be very hesitant to buy in a community that allows or is in process of allowing hydraulic fracking,” Schaut said. “Please take a stand and support the community and its future residents by not leasing Murrysville Community Park's gas rights.”
Though council is set to vote Wednesday on the ordinance, officials have said there will be no decision on leasing the park's rights until late this year or early in 2015. Instead, officials will focus on educating residents on what drilling ensues.
Officials will host an information session April 29 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building featuring speakers from the Center for Sustainable Shale Development; the Marcellus Shale Coalition; and John Kamin, a land-use attorney involved in the lawsuit over the state oil and gas law.
Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Delayed Franklin Regional schedules sent by mail
- Franklin Regional officials look to future with new hires
- Franklin Regional’s SRO tasked to watch for inappropriate contact
- Schnauzer’s fame spurs whirlwind week for Washington Township family
- Delmont’s Apple ’N Arts Festival adds off-site parking
- Work to affect Route 286 traffic for two weeks