New Castle News

Closer Look

May 16, 2014

Couple seeks to intervene in ‘pool’ action

NEW CASTLE — Two residents outside a proposed natural gas “pool” want to join those opposing an application for forced pooling.

Gerard L. and Claudia A. Nogee of 2374 Marr Road, Pulaski, filed the petition to intervene Monday with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. They want to join parties opposing Hilcorp Energy Co.’s request for well spacing units in areas of Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, and Shenango Township, Mercer County. If Hilcorp’s request is approved, landowners in the units who have not signed gas drilling leases could be forced to do so.

The Nogees’ application was filed on the last day that any new parties could join the action. It cites the state constitution’s guarantee of the right of “... acquiring, possessing and protecting property...” as the basis for their petition.

The Nogees state that they live adjacent to and surrounded by properties already being drilled or leased to Hilcorp Energy Co. and fear that if Hilcorp’s application is granted, their land may eventually be forced into a pool.

Gerard Nogee’s brother-in-law, Timothy Higgins of Ridgeville, S.C., who is serving as spokesman for the two, said Gerard Nogee doesn’t want to lease the land for drilling and “he has the right not to.

“He is a green farmer ... He is a retired steelworker who farms and doesn’t want his life interrupted, changed or taken from him by a bureaucracy.”

Higgins said the farm also has been entered into a land conservation program.

The petition states the Nogees will try to introduce evidence to demonstrate that the identified accumulation of gas is not a “pool” within the meaning of the 1961 Oil and Gas Conservation Law, which is the basis of Hilcorp’s application; that the law’s purpose of protecting correlative rights “is inapplicable in instances of horizontal drilling for natural gas in shale formations;” and that if forced pooling is allowed, it will set a precedent in the township and possibly other areas of Pennsylvania.

Higgins said the Nogees are not represented by a lawyer and he is trying to find legal representation for them.

Initially, the only parties to the application were Hilcorp and the DEP. Two couples and one individual whose properties are contained in the proposed “pool” already have intervened in the action, which has been postponed to give their attorney time to prepare a case. No new hearing date has been set.

Those landowners’ lawyer, Omar K. Abuhejleh of Pittsburgh, also has asked Commonwealth Court for injunctions against such use of the Oil and Gas Conservation Law, claiming forced pooling violates the state constitution.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Closer Look
  • Yauger.jpg Yauger enters guilty plea in federal court

    The former executive director of the local intermediate unit has entered a guilty plea in federal court.


    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lottery.jpg Lottery officials: Seniors should get smaller payout

    State lottery officials say less means more for seniors. The lottery took in $3.8 billion in sales last year and will give more than $1 billion of it — or 28.5 percent — to programs for senior citizens.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • phone.jpg Attorney general warns of phone scams

    Assorted scams in the commonwealth have prompted a warning from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said several scams have been reported to the Bureau of Consumer Protection in recent weeks.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • disability.jpg Disabilities group unveils new icon

    Disability Options Network is joining forces with the Accessible Icon Project. Officials of the community organization, located at 1929 E. Washington St., said its new icon will replace the current international symbol for accessibility.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Auditor: State doesn’t have enough inspectors to monitor wells

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.


    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • vote.jpg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • manna.jpg John K. Manna: Measuring the money

    Should we even bother to have an election in November? By some accounts, maybe the results of some contests are already in.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • shooting.jpg Man injured in city shooting

    A man was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Thursday morning following a shooting on West Lincoln Avenue.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • police.jpg Police: Man pulls gun on construction workers

    Construction workers in Neshannock Township flagged down police Thursday claiming a business owner had pulled a gun on them.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Shooting witness arrested for giving false name

    State police have arrested a second Detroit area man after questioning him about Sunday’s fatal shooting in Ellwood City. DeMarco Dorian Hoskins, 22, of Highland Park, Mich., was the third man in a private car that transported the deceased to look for a hospital. Hoskins allegedly gave police a false identity when they questioned him as witness.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Section Teases
Must Read
Continuous Super Bowl Coverage