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Ban On Drilling In Bucks, Montgomery Counties Stirs Controversy

Work on a natural gas drill in Pennsylvania. (Credit: Getty Images)

Work on a natural gas drill in Pennsylvania. (Credit: Getty Images)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Legislation imposing a moratorium on gas and oil drilling in Bucks and Montgomery Counties was included in budget legislation approved over the weekend, touching off a firestorm of controversy.

Drilling in what’s called the “South Newark Basin,” stretching from New Jersey into Bucks and Montgomery Counties, will be banned on the Pennsylvania side until 2018. Lawmakers in the Marcellus Shale region protested, saying it appeared to be favoritism toward one part of the state.

But House Republican Brian Ellis said it was just to allow time for study of the lesser known formation. “This is not about a drilling ban, this is about taking a look at something we don’t know anything about.”

Washington County House Democrat Jesse White asked, “Where was our study? Where was our six years? Where was Washington’s, Allegheny’s, all these counties where this is taking place? What makes Bucks and Montgomery so special?”

White says it’ll touch off a litany of similar demands from other areas.

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