Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gas Company Threatens to Leave

At a meeting on Wednesday night, Range Resources said they’ll pull out of a community if township supervisors don’t accommodate them in drafting local ordinances that make hydraulic fracturing easier in the community.

Hundreds showed up for a meeting hosted by Range Resources, held in Mt. Pleasant Township in Washington County last night. The topic at hand? The difficulties the company has had working with elected officials.

James Cannon, Manager of Public and Government Relations for the company said legal action and discontinuing operations in the community are possible.

"Keep in mind we have 450,000 de-risked acres in Washington County alone. We can go drill somewhere else for a while," he said.

The news didn’t go over well with those there – many of whom were natural gas leaseholders and say they stand to make lots of money from the gas extracted through hydraulic fracturing, the controversial gas drilling method used by Range Resources. The meeting was also heavily attended by employees from the natural gas industry.

Some criticized Range Resources, saying it seemed they were trying to turn residents against their local government, who they say is just trying to protect all residents and not just leaseholders.

Cannon said there were two issues at hand, the type of ordinance to be applied to hydraulic fracturing – permitting versus conditional and whether or not workers could stay in live/work space trailers 24 hours a day.

Cannon said they’re in favor of an ordinance that would allow permitting rather than conditional use because knowing the operations in advance allows the firm to plan its operations better.

Chuck Galligan, a Mount Pleasant Township resident and leaseholder said he was going to wait until he heard what the township supervisors had to say before making a decision.

"I’m currently receiving dollars from Range Resources. But I would gladly set that aside to maintain my property values and the health of my family. " he said after the meeting.

Mt. Pleasant Township supervisors did not return calls from DUQ radio They’ll be holding an Oil and Gas Well Zoning Ordinance Meeting on Tuesday.

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