New Castle News

Local News

June 12, 2014

Forced Pooling Fight: Pulaski Township couple wait for ruling

NEW CASTLE — Claudia and Gerard Nogee didn’t have to get involved in the fight over forced pooling.

The couple lives on the 70-acre family homestead on Marr Road in Pulaski Township that Gerard Nogee’s parents, Frank and Margaret, bought in 1948.

The 63-year-old worked in a Campbell, Ohio, steel mill until he retired but has always had cattle and farmed some corn, hay and oats.

His wife, 62, still works in the kitchen at Villa Maria.

Many of their neighbors have signed gas and oil leases. But not the Nogees.

“All the gas companies give you is a tank of water and a gag order when they pollute your well,” Claudia Nogee remarked. And as the wells move closer to their home, the couple is growing more concerned.

They are trying to join a landmark case in which Texas oil and gas driller Hilcorp Energy Co. is trying to force holdout landowners to sign leases in an effort to impose “forced pooling.”

The Nogees are not included in the “pool” in question, so nobody is forcing them to do anything.

But the suit before the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection hit a nerve.

Gerard Nogee said if Hilcorp wins the right for forced pooling, any holdouts will be affected.

“We are just ordinary people,” Claudia Nogee said. “We don’t have resources or a team of lawyers.”

But guarding mineral rights is a family tradition. Gerard Nogee said his parents had passed up several other farms before buying the one on Marr Road because they wanted to own the mineral rights.

So last month, the Nogees filed a petition with the DEP asking to join the suit along with the other holdout landowners.

They have been attending informational meetings on fracking and are worried about their water, and especially their cattle. They are afraid that wells planned for construction nearby will impact the water draining onto their pasture.

And Gerard Nogee said if the water is polluted, “that’s the end of it.”

He said a water buffalo could provide household needs but not enough for cattle.

They just got a letter informing them their water will be tested again. Their water has been tested before because of the area drilling.

Fracking “looks good on paper,” Claudia Nogee said, adding “I don’t think people realized what the impact would be on the community and the environment.”

The Nogees believe the drillers are saturating the township “to get every bit of gas that’s under there — then they will leave,” he said.

“And that stuff is underground for eternity. We will be living on top of a toxic waste dump for generations to come.”

Their brother and sister-in-law, Tim and Rose Higgins from South Carolina, are helping them.

“Tim’s a great speaker. He’s in politics and worked in water treatment. He knows about chemicals and air pollution,” Claudia Nogee said.

“We don’t even know how to get on a computer,” she added.

Hilcorp is opposing the couple’s petition to intervene and the DEP has not yet ruled on it. So the Nogees wait to see if they will be allowed to join the fight.

But whatever happens, they will be here.

Where would we run?” Claudia Nogee asked. “This is our home.”


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Kara_Petro.jpg Westminster names alumni director

    Westminster College has named Kara Petro as its director of alumni relations.


    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • LATCOM_Unspoken.jpg County fair concert to benefit LATCOM

    The Christian band Unspoken will perform a benefit concert for LATCOM at this month’s Lawrence County Fair. The event will take place at 7 p.m. Aug. 13 in the fairgrounds grandstands.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • FallenWarriorRide.jpg Fallen Warrior Ride to preface soldier tribute

    Area motorcyclists will be heading out once again this month to pay tribute to the nation’s soldiers and veterans. The second annual Fallen Warrior Ride is scheduled to leave Cascade Park at 6 p.m. Aug. 15 for a one-hour, circuitous route to Laurel High School. Once there, riders — led by the Patriot Honor Guard of Western Pennsylvania — will parade into the Lawrence County Fairgrounds, where they’ll join a Salute to the American Soldiers: For God and Country, a crusade by Vision Ministries of Lawrence County.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • LOVEkitchen.jpg Love Kitchen: Little Caesars provides special delivery for Rescue Mission

    The Little Caesars Love Kitchen rolled into the City Rescue Mission for a special delivery Wednesday. A pizza kitchen on wheels, the big rig travels across the United States and Canada to meet the needs of the hungry, the homeless and disaster survivors.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • fairphoto.jpg County fair looks for a few good bakers

    The countdown to the 2014 Lawrence County Fair has begun. In less than two weeks, the fairgrounds will be brimming with animals, vegetables, fruit, flowers, music, food and fun. This year’s fair runs from Aug. 11 to 16.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • CarolineOrrico.jpg Local teen off to state DYW event

    Lawrence County’s 2015 Distinguished Young Woman is heading back into scholarship competition.


    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • NicholsonOffice.jpg County to buy new office for Nicholson

    Before the end of the year, the Lawrence County commissioners plan to move District Judge Jennifer Nicholson into new offices.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • PortersvilleSS.jpg Portersville Steam Show summer event arrives

    The Portersville Steam Show will stage its summer event Thursday through Sunday at its show grounds.


    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Veteran.jpg Veterans seminar to view technology

    A veterans benefits seminar has been set for Friday. The program will run from 2 to 4 p.m. in the commissioners room of the Lawrence County courthouse.


    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Part-time guard position created

    The Lawrence County Salary Board created a part-time temporary court guard position Tuesday.


    July 30, 2014