Wed., 10:49am: W. Pa. church group ends gas drilling moratorium

PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh religious group has voted to end a yearlong moratorium on shale gas development on church property, which could clear the way for construction of a gas pipeline.

The decision was made by approximately 230 voting members of the Pittsburgh Presbytery, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports Wednesday. Approximately one-third of the Presbytery voted to renew the moratorium.

The Presbytery also approved allowing negotiations with Shell Oil and Gas Co. for a gas pipeline across an undeveloped corner of the 226-acre Crestfield camp near Slippery Rock.

The camp depends on funding from the region’s 150 Presbyterian churches, but its operating budget for this summer was all but eliminated due to budgetary constraints.

Most of the revenue from a pipeline lease would go to the camp.