The Butler County Court of Common Pleas issued a preliminary injunction on June 26, 2015, that will temporarily prevent any unconventional gas well activities at 451 Denny Road, Middlesex Township. The preliminary injunction will stay in effect until a final judgment is decided on a challenge to the validity of the township Zoning Ordinance.
In August 2014, the Middlesex Township amended its Zoning Ordinance allowing oil and gas activities in many of the zoning districts in the township. Based on Article 1 Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, the Environmental Rights Amendment, some residents in Middlesex Township, along with environmental groups Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Clean Air Council, challenged the ordinance’s amendment before the Middlesex Township Zoning Hearing Board. They claimed that the ordinance’s amendment violated their rights to health and environmental safety. Rejecting their arguments, the three members of the Zoning Hearing Board voted to uphold the amended Zoning Ordinance. Two township residents and environmental groups appealed the Zoning Hearing Board’s decision to the Court of Common Pleas.
As a result of the court’s ruling, oil and gas activities will be stopped at 451 Denny Road, Middlesex Township, providing that appellants file a surety bond of $250,000 by July 26 so as to compensate oil and gas companies’ potential losses if the appeal is unsuccessful.
Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow