Marcellus shale rules hot topic for Murrysville council candidates
Murrysville council long has debated Marcellus shale regulations and council candidates anticipate future discussions as the municipality folds the local ordinance into the state's recently enacted law.
Five Republican candidates are vying for four seats on council in the May 21 primary — challengers Teresa Gildemeister and Loren Kase and incumbents Joan Kearns, Jeff Kepler and Dave Perry. The four-year terms run through 2017.
Among other issues, the council members elected in November likely will deal with how to tweak the Marcellus shale ordinance.
“The first term was learning to balance technology and potential impacts Marcellus shale will have to the community,” incumbent Jeff Kepler said. “I thought it was important not to stop. I want to follow through. Marcellus shale will absolutely be in Murrysville in the next term.”
Council approved its ordinance in October 2011. When the Legislature passed its law, Murrysville opposed because it would strip local governments' oversight of drilling operations.
“I think we did take a very balanced approach to how we modeled our ordinance,” Kepler said. “It was by far the largest task and took a lot of effort from a lot of people; we got opinions from the drilling industry and attorneys.”
Council President Joan Kearns said her knowledge and understanding of the ordinance and state law will be useful to move the municipality forward next term.
“We're working on an updated comprehensive plan,” she said. “I've been involved with the unconventional gas well ordinance since the very beginning and I want to follow that through. I think it's necessary to have continuity on council.”
The shale regulation is one of the issues that attracted Loren Kase, who served in the Coast Guard for eight years and is a manufacturing representative for a local company, to run for a seat on council.
He said his military background has prepared him to understand complex problems and address concerns, sometimes under tense situations.
“It's become difficult to sift through all this information (on Marcellus shale),” he said. “I think it's important to bring an objective viewpoint in on that matter. We need to do our due diligence that we understand the decision we're making and be able to justify it to the community.”
David Perry, who is seeking a second term, said the Marcellus shale ordinance and making responsible development choices will be his top priorities next term.
He said he has relied on his experience as a practicing geologist to understand and form educated decisions on development proposals.
“People move to Murrysville because of the green, leafy, rural-like atmosphere that we have,” he said. “It's keeping the small-town atmosphere, while being relatively close to large city amenities.”
Perry said he would not support large development projects that would shift that image but would endorse smaller upscale projects, such as the Bruce Spruce development on Route 22 that is expected to open this fall.
“I have a very specific idea of the feel that Murrysville should have,” he said, noting he opposed a mall-like development planned for Route 22 almost five years ago. “We thought that was inappropriate for Murrysville. The rest of Murrysville agree with the vision.”
Monitoring the development projects proposed for the municipality is equally important to challenger Gildemeister, who is a program manager for a research project at Alcoa.
“Murrysville is constantly growing,” she said. “We want to stay rural in nature, so we need to be diligent in making sure we grow in the right areas. I want to be part of that smart growth.”
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 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.
- Walker: Still time to recycle live Christmas trees in Scottdale
- New Derry woman charged after mail delivery of 4 pounds of marijuana
- Former Steelers LB Haggans to do time in Westmoreland jail
- Salem man, in lockup in Greensburg shooting, charged with threatening to kill prison guard
- Derry Township auto shop owner finds theft suspect hiding inside
- Ligonier Township residents voice concern to supervisors about new zoning ordinance
- Brownsville pair allegedly embezzle from law firm
- New Year’s Eve sales set LCB record
- Latrobe police seek driver of red cargo van
- Westmoreland County Prison visitation goes digital
- Veterans Court in session in Westmoreland for first time