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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Just send over a moving truck....

"ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP, WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. -- Just send over a moving truck, and Bob Taylor will be on his way. After 22 years in rural Allegheny Township, 76-year-old Taylor and his wife Beverly, 71, are afraid the natural gas well slated for their neighbor's land will spell an end to their quiet lifestyle. "I'm just so disgusted," Taylor said from his house about 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. "This is our dream home, and they're ruining it." It's no surprise that Consol Energy Inc. subsidiary CNX Gas Co. took an interest in the area. Allegheny Township sits atop the Marcellus Shale formation, where hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have sparked a nationwide gas boom. But after judges tossed an industry-friendly state zoning law last year, the Taylors thought the area around their home would be off limits to drilling.
   CNX is clearing acres of trees to build a well pad for natural gas drilling. Photo by Ellen Gilmer

"It's zoned residential and agricultural, not industrial," Taylor said. "And they're going ahead and doing it anyhow." Neighbor Patricia Hagaman said the well pad would spoil the rustic character of their neighborhood, tucked in the rolling hills of Willowbrook Road. "When you choose to live out here, you know it's going to be give and take," she said, "but not an industrial brownfield." The neighbors-turned-activists have worked since July to halt well construction, challenging both the CNX well and the township ordinance that allowed the company to locate the project about 1,000 feet from Bob and Beverly's house."

For more on "incoherent" zoning in rural areas in PA, read more at