Friday, April 6, 2018

Seismic Testing in April, 2018 Monroeville, PA. What's Next?

Hello, and Happy windy and cold April! The delicate buds are peeking out of the ground in Monroeville, PA. So pretty. Soon the lime green buds will take over and bathe us in new life and a new way of seeing ourselves and what has been going on here in Monroeville, PA...

Be sure to mark your calendar for the April 10, 2018 at 7:00 PM Monroeville Council meeting at the Monroeville Muncipal building. Does anyone know if citizens concerns about the Seismic Testing that has been occurring in the Municipality of Monroeville has been placed on the agenda for this upcoming council meeting? Please call Mr. Little, the municipal manager, or e-mail to him to ask. Our guess is there will be many citizens at the meeting wanting some answers about what has transpired in our beautiful town of Monroeville, PA over these past few weeks. Is the testing still occurring? Seismic testing that is? Has Geokinetics completed its work? If not, when will the work be complete? Will citizens be informed of upcoming exact dates and times if Seismic charges, aka explosives,  are used so we know what to expect? Who knew this would be occurring or has already occurred in at least one cemetery in Monroeville, PA? Is that a legal use of Seismic Testing, explosive seismic testing in a cemetery? These questions and many more were asked by residents at the Sustainable Monroeville meeting this past week. These questions remain unanswered. And now we're not sure what to believe based on what's in the Seismic Testing ordinance, and what's really been happening.

Here's links to a few articles that appeared in TribLive this week regarding what's been happening in Monroeville, PA this week:

As of this writing at 3:30 PM on Friday afternoon, April 5, 2018, there have been sightings of Geokinetics in Monroeville, PA. What are they doing, and where are they doing it?

The next meeting of Sustainable Monroeville will be on Monday evening, May 7, 2018 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM.  As always these meetings are in the downstairs program room of the Monroeville Public Library and are free and open to the public.  All municipal officials, councilpersons, the Mayor, and of course all community members are invited to this next meeting where the agenda will focus on putting updated and most appropriate oil and gas laws in place to protect our property and our health as it seems fracking is coming down the pike! Please reach out to your councilperson directly to invite them to this upcoming meeting.
Based on how the Seismic Testing was handled, we, the citizens must be vigilant and be sure everyone is following the rules. We must be proactive because it has become apparent that once the industry begins what they set out to do, the ball keeps rolling even if they are not necessarily following the rules...

Below is from Doug Shields of Food and Water Watch, a Non-Profit. Doug has been helping us along in this process of educating the public about Seismic Testing and now soon, Fracking so We the People, the Citizens of Monroeville, PA will be able to protect our residences, business and health. Thanks Doug!

"There is an Oil and Gas Drilling zoning ordinance in place in Monroeville.

A brief History…

Last summer, I worked with Sustainable Monroeville to get the Seismic Survey Ordinance enacted (9/2017).

At that time I met with Manager, Tim Little, and pointed out to him that Monroeville’s zoning code:
1. Has an oil and gas section.
2. That the code allowed for fracking, as a conditional use exception, in all zoning districts of the municipality. See old ordinance (still on line)

  1. Informed that this was an incompatible use with residential and commercial and other non-industrial zoning districts.
  2. Fracking is an industrial land use
  3. Any fracking operations should be limited to the municipality’s industrial zones, as a conditional use; it is an industrial activity it goes to the industrial zone. The industrial zones are noted in light blue on the municipal zoning map: You will note that this amendment to the zoning code significantly limits areas where drilling/fracking can be done

  1. In October, 2017, Monroeville Council amended their code to do just that.
  2. In December 2017, legislation was offered in Council (no one would admit to being the bill’s sponsor which is very odd) to further amend the zoning code to allow fracking in the S1 Special Conservancy district. See zoning map – dark green area in the SW of the municipality.  This would increase the likelihood of fracking as there is room for a well pad there. It is about 3 miles from the well going in at the Edgar Thompson Steel mill (the portion in in N. Versailles).
  3. Huntley and Huntley has leases for gas in this area as well.  (see FracTracker lease map:
The leases are noted in orange. Click on the large orange tracts in south Monroeville – note the area is all leased by Huntley and Huntley.  Then, attempt to convince me that they don’t want to frack in Monroeville. Who sponsored the amendment to expand fracking us in the S1- Special Conservancy district? I have no idea. You have to have a council member introduce the legislation. Were it not for the vigilance of Sustainable Monroeville members, the amendment may well have been passed unnoticed. 

The S1- Special Conservancy district is essentially the area occupied by the old Chambers municipal waste landfill (now owned by Waste Management).  The Planning commission gave the amendment a negative recommendation. Allegheny County Planning review of the proposed ordinance raised significant questions about the amendment as to both its form and substance.

The Council took action last month to remove the offered amendment from the agenda. 

Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Code (which allows municipalities to employ zoning) you cannot ban a legal land use via zoning. I provide you with a link to a document that explains the basics of zoning very well. The matter of exclusionary zoning is defined there at page 8. “

This is a very good resource to understand the basics of zoning in PA. Easy to read and understand."


Doug Shields 

Douglas A. Shields
W. PA Outreach Liaison
Food & Water Watch

Cell:  1 412 969 5816

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