By Randy Shannon
South Heights Borough Council President Bob Schmetzer will represent concerned citizens before a panel of drillers and their paid Republican Party legislators at Beaver Lakes Country Club at 1:00pm on Tuesday May 15th.
Schmetzer chaired an April 21st public meeting in Ambridge where scientific experts presented evidence of the dangers to the Ambridge Reservoir of hydraulic fracturing of shale.
Schmetzer has also alerted local communities to the risks to the Creswell Water Authority aquifer that will be caused by drilling. Site clearing around the aquifer is now underway.
The Brockway, PA Municipal Authority recently experienced loss of its Well No. 5 when the aquifer was pierced by a gas well. Water flow was halted for 29 hours and subsequent turbidity increased 500%. Well casing requirements in PA are below standard quality that would avoid such leakages. This substandard practice saves money for the drillers, who pass it on to Republican politicians who control the DEP.
As shown in the Beaver County Times article below, driller attack dog Jim Christiana has insulted the people of South Heights, Crescent Township, and Hopewell for taking a proactive stance to make sure their water remains safe to drink.
The sad and tragic experiences of so many PA residents who have been poisoned or lost their water and their property values will be multiplied many times over since the Republicans have cancelled the rights of local communities to zone for gas drilling. The drillers plan to place a well site every two miles across Beaver County. This requires the voiding of all local ordinance power that would protect businesses, public buildings, and residences from the noise, dust, pipelines, exhaust gases, poisonous fumes, poisonous chemicals, flairs, and periodic explosions and fires associated with hydrofracking.
Keep reading for Times article quoting Jim Christiana.
House hearing Tuesday on Marcellus shale water safety
Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2012 3:34 pm
HOPEWELL TWP. — The state House Majority Policy Committee plans a public hearing in Hopewell Township next week on water-safety issues related to Marcellus shale drilling, state Rep. Jim Christiana said.
The hearing will start at 1 p.m. Tuesday at The Club at Shadow Lakes, 2000 Beaver Lakes Blvd.
Christiana, R-15, Beaver, who requested the hearing, said he is aware of concerns about water when it comes to drilling, especially among residents in Independence Township, Hopewell and South Heights.
While he said residents’ fears must be addressed, Christiana also said that Hopewell and South Heights residents were unnecessarily worried in February by a letter from the Creswell Heights Joint Authority, which provides water to 15,200 customers in those two towns, as well as Crescent and portions of Moon townships.
In that letter, Creswell told customers that there was “the potential” for drilling on the former Duquesne Light Co.’s Phillips Power Station site along Route 51 at Route 151. Creswell draws its water from three wells near the site.
However, there were no drilling permit applications submitted to the state and a partner in the site’s current ownership group said at the time that there were no plans to drill, although all options were being considered.
“I wish I could tell you we had a plan, but we don’t,” Chris Squitiero, a Texas contractor, told The Times in February.
“There’s been no permits requested for that old Duquesne Light site,” Christiana said Thursday. “There’s zero indication that (drilling) is a legitimate concern.”
Whoever approved the letter, which is still posted on Creswell’s website, “acted irresponsibly in sending that out,” Christiana said.
Independence residents, who use private wells, have also expressed concerns about the impact of drilling on their water, Christiana said, and those questions will also be addressed.
South Heights Council President Bob Schmetzer, who criticized any potential drilling on the power station site in February, is scheduled to testify at the hearing along with officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Range Resources and the National Association of Royalty Owners.
Besides Christiana, state Rep. Jim Marshall, R-14, Big Beaver, state Rep. Mark Mustio, R-44, North Fayette Township, and other Republican legislators are expected to attend the hearing.
The hearing will be streamed live on Christiana’s website, RepChristiana.com, and also recorded and posted there for later viewing. For more information, call Christiana’s Center Township district office at (724) 728-7655.