New Castle News

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May 3, 2014

Landowners can intervene in gas hearing

NEW CASTLE — Pulaski Township landowners opposed to a shale gas driller’s forced pooling effort can intervene in a hearing on the matter.

Meanwhile, that hearing has been delayed.

E. Christopher Abruzzo, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Friday issued an order granting Martin and Suzanne Matteo, Robert and Carol Valentino and Steve Emery the ability to intervene in Hilcorp Energy Co.’s request for forced pooling in Pulaski.

Some property owners have refused to sign oil and gas leases with the firm, which has drilled multiple shale wells in Pulaski Township. The company says it needs to include these properties as part of a larger pool for fracking operations.

Hilcorp claims a 1961 state law allows it to frack under properties and extract gas, even if the landowners have refused to sign leases. The landowners would receive royalties from any gas recovered if the state approves the plan.

A hearing was scheduled for next week. But Friday, hearing officer Michael L. Bangs issued a delay, because he had not yet heard from the DEP about the status of the request to intervene.

No new date has been scheduled for a hearing, but Bangs expressed the desire to conduct sessions soon. His order also said that any new petitions to intervene in the case must be filed by May 12.

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