- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

VALENCIA, Pa. (AP) - A western Pennsylvania judge has upheld a township’s gas drilling ordinance over the objections of some residents and environmental activists.

The Middlesex Township zoning hearing board originally upheld the ordinance allowing drilling in much of the mostly rural community about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh. The residents, the Delaware Riverkeeper network and the Clean Air Council appealed that ruling.

But Butler County Judge Michael Yeager rejected the appeals and lifted a previous court order that stayed - or indefinitely prevented - five wells from being drilled on one couple’s property.

The zoning board’s ruling was in May. Yeager upheld it in a decision Thursday.

Zoning and other rules permitting Marcellus shale drilling have spawned litigation in several western Pennsylvania communities.

Rex Energy, which is drilling the wells, says it is pleased with the ruling.

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