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Rex Energy puts Marcellus shale drilling site work in Middlesex on hold during appeals

| Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, 12:19 a.m.

Rex Energy has suspended development of a controversial Marcellus shale drilling site in Middlesex, Butler County, until appeals are settled, according to a letter sent to several people who live in the area.

“At this time, the duration of the delay in operations is not known,” said the letter from Mary Ann Fox, vice president of land development for State College-based Rex.

On Oct. 9, two environmental groups and four residents appealed changes to Middlesex's zoning ordinances that allowed Marcellus shale drilling in most of the township. The hearing before the zoning board is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Nov. 18.

“The law prevents them (Rex) from going forward when there's been a zoning hearing board challenge,” said attorney Jordan Yeager, who is representing the parties appealing the zoning decision.

The groups, Clean Air Council in Philadelphia, and Delaware Riverkeeper Network in Bucks County, along with David Denk, Jennifer Chomicki, Anthony Lapina and Joanne Groman, also filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Hearing Board. That appeal challenges the DEP's issuance of a well permit. A hearing hasn't been scheduled yet.

Rex would drill five wells off Denny Road. The company said Monday that construction at the site is complete, including installation of erosion and sediment controls.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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