According to EXCO's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Douglas H. Miller, ‘Our business plan for Marcellus Shale development is proceeding as we projected. EXCO has drilled several Marcellus Shale wells in Pennsylvania. We received all necessary permits and approvals to drill and operate our Marcellus wells, and we now have 60 drilling permits for future operations.’
Concerns over zoning designations
EXCO issued this confirmation in response to some recent media reports, which suggested that the company had been directed to cease some of its activities. The reports referred to a letter the company received from a local township supervisor in which a concern was raised over the zoning designation of an area where a single EXCO vertical test well was drilled last October. After consulting with the township, the company learned that the letter was sent in response to a complaint made by two local residents. EXCO has confirmed that it received all necessary permits to drill this well and met with township officials before the well was drilled. Further meetings have been scheduled to discuss the zoning area designation concern raised by these two residents.
There are more than 2500 municipalities in Pennsylvania and many of these local government entities have zoning ordinances that designate conditions for development. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled last year that the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act preempts municipal/township regulation of oil and gas drilling activities and prevents local government entities from regulating oil and gas E&P activities.