New Castle News

December 11, 2013

Pulaski approves changes for wells

Mary Grzebieniak
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Pulaski Township supervisors approved zoning changes for two more well pads and several wells for Hilcorp Energy Co.

The approval will double the number of well pads in the township to four. The two existing well pads are at the Kinkela and the Whiting sites. All are operated by Hilcorp, a Houston, Texas, company.

The two conditional use permits were granted for land owned by Howard Artman and by John and Connie Ratvasky.

The Artman property at 1236 Maple Lane will include one horizontal well in addition to the well pad. The Ratvasky well at 352 Nashua Road includes a well pad and three horizontal wells. Both are located in an A-Agriculture zoning district.

Stephanie McMurray, operations and regulatory technician for Hilcorp, said both sites will be supplied with water from a temporary water line to the Shanango River.

After an executive session of about 15 minutes, Supervisors Sam Varano and Greg Carna voted to grant the conditional use permit. The third supervisor, Lori Sniezek, excused herself from the executive session and the voting, stating she is an employee of Hilcorp.

Carrie Hahn of Volant was the only person objecting to the permits. She asked how the zoning change could be approved for the Ratvasky site since well and drill permits have not yet been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. She said it was her understanding the applicant has to have DEP permit approval before the conditional use permit can be approved.

However, township solicitor Richard Harper said Hahn is incorrect and there is no problem approving the wells.

The conditional use permit requires that both sites abide by all the conditions imposed on the Kinkela and Whiting wells. Some of the conditions require that traffic flow on the adjacent road not be impeded, that the company work with the fire department on safety plans, that lighting not illuminate adjacent properties or public roads and that they have adequate stormwater plans.

Officials would give no timetable for construction and drilling at the new sites. All the wells will drill into Utica and Point Pleasant Shale reserves.

(Email: grzebieniak@ncnewsonline.com)