ShareThis Page
Murrysville

Driller files first fracking application for Murrysville

Patrick Varine
| Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, 3:45 p.m.
Michael Hillebrand, Chief Operations Officer of Huntley & Huntley Energy Exploration LLC, gives a presentation at Harrison City Fire Hall of his company’s plans to drill in Penn Township on Thursday, June 23, 2016. Huntley & Huntley recently filed for permits to construct a fracking well pad in eastern Murrysville.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Michael Hillebrand, Chief Operations Officer of Huntley & Huntley Energy Exploration LLC, gives a presentation at Harrison City Fire Hall of his company’s plans to drill in Penn Township on Thursday, June 23, 2016. Huntley & Huntley recently filed for permits to construct a fracking well pad in eastern Murrysville.

Drillers waited for seven years as Murrysville officials fine-tuned, re-examined and tweaked their fracking ordinance.

On the heels of its approval in late May , Monroeville drillers Huntley & Huntley have requested state permits for the Titan Well Pad project, a drilling pad proposed for property just west of the intersection of Bollinger and Hilty roads in eastern Murrysville.

Huntley wants to build a 4-acre well pad and access road on the 71-acre property, along with the attendant stormwater management.

Murrysville council members voted 6-1 in May to approve their fracking ordinance, which places setbacks at 750 feet from any protected structure to the edge of a well pad.

Debate surrounding the fracking ordinance centered mostly on setbacks: Gas industry officials and Murrysville residents who have leased their rights to drillers have consistently pointed to the state's 500-foot setback as a reasonable standard. Most residents who spoke against reducing the setback did not see it that way, asking council to impose at least a 1,000-foot setback.

Council ultimately settled on 750 feet in a vote that split its members 4-3, with outgoing members Joan Kearns, Jeff Kepler and David Perry preferring at least an 800-foot setback.

Council members who voted in favor of the 750-foot setback pointed out that the distance from the edge of a well pad to the actual well bore holes provided an additional, unspecified setback.

The Titan proposal is the first project to enter the municipality's development pipeline since the ordinance was updated and approved.

At their most recent appearance before council, Huntley officials discussed plans to perform seismic testing throughout Murrysville this winter, sending sound waves into the ground to map below the surface.

Murrysville Chief Administrator Jim Morrison told council that Huntley was required to notify them, but the well pad will not be council's agenda anytime soon.

“It'll be six to nine months at the state level, most likely, and then it will come before council,” Morrison said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com.

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.

click me