Land Use Planning and Design Terms
Act 13 of 2012 amends Title 58 (Oil and Gas Act) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, effectively overhauling Pennsylvania’s oil and gas legislation. It enacts stronger environmental standards, and authorizes the counties to impose an impact fee, the income from which is directed to local authorities and state agencies. A provision of the Act superseded local regulation of oil and gas operations by enabling the gas industry to proceed with explorations regardless of municipal zoning ordinances regulating oil and gas development but that provision has been reversed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Among the Act's other provisions are increased setback requirements for unconventional gas development; enhanced protection of water supplies; and consistent statewide environmental standards. Source: Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
A comprehensive plan is a document that states basic objectives and policies that guide future growth and development for a community. Although it is not a legally binding document, the overall plan represents an agreement decided upon by a governing body, based on input from community constituents, which guides governmental decision-making regarding land use and community planning. It is officially adopted by the governing body of a municipality and is carried out to a large extent by zoning and by subdivision and land development ordinances. Source: Anderson, Larz. (1995) Guidelines for Preparing Urban Plans. Chicago: APA Planners Press.
A drilling unit is the area from which an actual well would draw its gas. The unit is designated by the company and based on the geology of the area, and is where the gas would be drawn from when a particular well is drilled. Those landowners included in the unit share the royalty money from the gas well on a pro-rated basis based on acreage owned by each in the drilling unit. Source: State of Pennsylvania, House Bill no. 1950, “PA Act 13 of 2012 amending Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes” Pennsylvania General Assembly: Harrisburg, PA.
Forest fragmentation occurs when continuous forest areas are interrupted by gas well pads or bisected by pipelines in a way that leaves relatively small, isolated patches of forest or woodland known as forest fragments. The remnant patches that result may act as islands of habitat in a sea of farmland, subdivisions, or other human land uses. Fragmentation may lead to losses in biodiversity and may result in the conditions that enable the spread of invasive species. Source: Penn State University Sustainable Forests Partnership
Land-use planning is an activity of local and regional government that seeks to order and regulate land use in an efficient and ethical way, thus preventing land –use conflicts. Source: Young, Anthony (1993). Guidelines for Land Use Planning, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Rome, Italy.
A subdivision refers to the creation of lots or to the changing of lot lines. A Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) is a local law passed by either a county or a municipality to regulate the subdividing and developing of land. Source: Clearfield County Planning Commission (2006).
A well site is the area occupied by all equipment or facilities necessary for or incidental to drilling, production, or plugging a well. Source: State of Pennsylvania, House Bill no. 1950, “PA Act 13 of 2012 amending Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes” Pennsylvania General Assembly: Harrisburg, PA.
Zoning is a tool a community may use to regulate the use of land and the location and intensity of development. Source: Bassett, E. M. Zoning. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1940
Zone of Presumed Liability
The zone of presumed liability is the area in which a gas company is presumed liable for any contamination of a water sources as a suspected result of drilling. Under Act 13, the zone of presumed liability was expanded from 1,000’ feet to 2,500 feet. Source: State of Pennsylvania, House Bill no. 1950, “PA Act 13 of 2012 amending Title 58 (Oil and Gas) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes” Pennsylvania General Assembly: Harrisburg, PA.