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Economy & Business

Business Council Weighs in on Shale Rules

Local government groups have been critical of a Pennsylvania House proposal that would allow state-imposed natural gas drilling regulations to trump local ordinances, but one business advocate is arguing that the alternative is a regulatory patchwork.

Representatives for the state's townships and boroughs have issues with the bill. The Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs is not keen on the idea of allowing counties to decide if they would like to impose drilling fees.

"We want this development, we want this growth, but we need it to be done in a cooperative fashion with the industry and something … done from the 30-thousand foot level, at the commonwealth level, I think can remove that ability for the local folks to be able to work with the gas industry," said Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs spokesperson Ed Troxell.

Dave Sanko, head of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, feels otherwise. "A one-size solution doesn't work. I mean, gosh, why bother stopping in Harrisburg? Why not let Washington decide? I don't think anyone trusts Washington or Harrisburg to be making decisions like that about what a community is going to look like."

"The idea that municipalities should be able to set their own common sense rules, local rules for drilling, becomes problematic when you start saying, and where does it end? Do we have different driving rules municipality by municipality?" asked Dave Patti, president of the Pennsylvania Business Council.

Patti said there's no reason to allow local ordinances to regulate any one industry.