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Range Resources Challenges PA’s South Fayette Township Ordinance

by Kenneth E. DuBose on August 19, 2011

Range Resources is challenging the validity of Pennsylvania’s South Fayette township ordinance that effectively bans drilling. The ordinance decreases the value of Range’s mineral acreage substantially and the company states “the zoning rules and buffer zones effectively put the entire township off-limits to drilling”. This argument has popped up several times over the years in states like Texas and Oklahoma. In other states, there are state laws that limit a city or township from going beyond state regulations in certain circumstances. This will likely be the case in Pennsylvania. If you’re a mineral owner in the area, don’t fret. This is likely a legal obstacle that will be overcome shortly. Your minerals should be developed over time.

Range Resources ( RRC – news – people )-Appalachia LLC filed the notice Tuesday challenging the validity of the South Fayette Township ordinance, which the Pittsburgh suburb gave final approval to last month.

The ordinance requires drillers to obtain a land operations permit for each well and creates buffers around schools, hospitals and certain types of businesses. It also requires a $5,000 permit fee from drillers.

Range Resources said the ordinance is illegal because the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act pre-empts and supersedes any and all local ordinances.

Even if that were not the case, the zoning rules and buffer zones effectively put the entire township off-limits to drilling, Range Resources said. That amounts to an “exclusionary zoning of oil and gas development in violation of Pennsylvania law,” the company argues.

In short, Range Resources said it is being “deprived of its legal right to develop its oil and natural gas property interests” on about 4,000 acres it has leased in the township.

Read the entire news release at forbes.com

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