DUBOIS – At Tuesday night’s meeting, members of DuBois City Council voted to amend its reading of Council Bill 1892, which, if given final approval, would prohibit the construction of disposal injection wells, seismographic surveying/seismic testing and the commercial extraction of natural gas through horizontal drilling in all of the DuBois residential and office zoning districts.
Council members approved amending Council Bill 1892 by a 3-1 vote. Council member Randy Schmidt opposed amending the same. Council member Jim Aughenbaugh was excused from the meeting.
City Solicitor Toni Cherry noted two significant amendments to Council Bill 1892. The amendments, she said, would permit drilling to occur in commercial and transitional zoning districts. Both, Cherry said, would allow industrial operations while prohibiting drilling in residential and office zoning districts.
Cherry explained that the intent of Council Bill 1892 was to bring Marcellus shale and related drilling activities in line with existing industrial zoning. Drilling, she said, would not be permitted within the municipality where there could not also be a powdered metal plant.
“If you wouldn’t allow a powdered metal plant, regardless of how many jobs it creates, in a residential neighborhood, then you shouldn’t allow a drilling rig in a residential neighborhood, as well,” said Cherry.
Cherry added that “I love this industry. I love all business. I don’t know why [industry representatives] would think that they can just come into a residential area.”
Councilwoman Diane Bernardo didn’t believe the original wording of Council Bill 1892 sent the wrong message to industry. She added that the revised bill should remove any claims of that.
Cherry agreed that the revised Council Bill 1892 removed restrictions.