ShareThis Page

Drilling halted at Middlesex well under dispute

| Thursday, July 2, 2015, 12:04 a.m.

A Butler County judge issued a stay that halts work at a disputed drilling site in Middlesex.

Common Pleas Judge S. Michael Yeager said work at the Geyer well must be halted until July 26 — by which time opponents of the township's zoning ordinance must have a $250,000 bond to continue to block work during legal appeals.

Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the Clean Air Council and four Middlesex residents appealed the township zoning board's decision to uphold changes that supervisors made to the zoning ordinance allowing the Geyer well to be drilled. The changes also allow drilling in much of the township.

Both sides say they expect a court battle to set a precedent and help define the extent to which municipalities in Pennsylvania are allowed to oversee and regulate fracking.

According to Mike Gallagher, lawyer for the zoning board, the bond is required to offset any losses that Rex Energy, the company that developed the Geyer well, incurs should the court rule in the township's favor.

“If they don't post the bond, the company can move forward after 30 days,” Gallagher said.

Alex Bomstein, a lawyer for the environmental groups and residents, said they are reviewing the judge's order.

A spokesman for Rex Energy said the company will comply with the judge's order.

Yeager scheduled a status hearing in the case for Sept. 18.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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