CHC Update June 2,

Greetings folks,

Focus on the Commissioners
Many of you attended the county’s Natural Gas Task Force last week, and have commented that the Commissioner’s reliance on the state to give guidance on our Conservation Zones is likely misplaced. If you missed Lt. Gov. Crawly’s comments, they are here in the Gazette article: Most notable was his suggestion that all reports of environmental or health damage due to fracking are anecdotal, and that the industry is asking for nothing from Pennsylvanians. 

Folks who attended the meeting also commented that Commissioner Ruddock, to his credit, was less enthusiastic in his speech about the wonders of the industry and more skeptical that DEP’s current capacity and regulatory authority is enough ensure the safety of our communities and environment.

The upshot is that we need to continue to support the County Commissioners in rewriting the ordinance. They’re not going to get support from the state.

The stakes are rising
The stakes for the conservation zone could not be higher; besides Mike Knapp’s helpful information on other leases in the CZ, we’ve learned through other sources that all the land in the CZ around Yellow Creek is currently under lease by four major players, EQT Production, Penn Natural, Range and XTO Energy. In addition, MDS is currently negotiating with DCNR to lay a new pipeline within the boundries of the park which will make these leases more available for deep gas drilling. 

We’ve also learned that because of the decreased price of Natural Gas, shallow gas drilling is fading from economic feasibility. This is particularly true for the smaller companies that have been the norm in this area for years. These local companies are being driven out by the larger out of state companies who come with their deep well fracking money.  Royal Dutch Shell just set up a new office in Cranberry Township, PA. 

These companies are ready to pounce, and are likely waiting to see how things play out. Unless the Commissioners act, Knapp’s prediction of 30-40 wells in the CZ is looking very likely.
Take Action Today
There are several ways you can take action today:

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