Judge cites Pennsylvania high court decision in barring natural gas well in residential area



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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — A judge in northern Pennsylvania is throwing out a municipality's decision to allow a natural gas well to be drilled in a residentially zoned area.

The environmental group PennFuture said Wednesday the ruling was a test of a state Supreme Court decision that struck down a 2012 law restricting municipalities' ability to control where companies may drill.

PennFuture had sued on behalf of a nearby landowner.

The Marcellus Shale well pad was to be as large as 300 feet by 350 feet, and located within 3,000 feet of a large residential development.

But Lycoming County Judge Marc Lovecchio's ruling Friday says neither the drilling company nor Fairfield Township showed how the operation is compatible with permitted land use in the residential district.

Fairfield Township approved the permit the day before the Supreme Court ruled.

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