New Castle News

Marcellus Shale

February 8, 2012

Group’s aim is shale drilling education

NEW CASTLE — A citizens group concerned with environmental and property issues surrounding shale drilling wants landowners to become better informed.

The Fracking Truth Alliance of Lawrence and Mercer Counties is planning a community meeting for 7 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Wilmington High School auditorium. The doors will be open at 6:30 p.m.

Speakers will include Doug Shields, a former Pittsburgh city councilman who led an anti-drilling environmental crusade in Pittsburgh; Dr. John F. Stoltz, a Duquesne University professor and environmental microbiologist; and Jim Litwinowitz, a New Castle landowner who has signed a 40-acre lease.

A panel discussion about the pros and cons in the Marcellus/Utica shale industry will be part of the program.

“We formed in the fall because several of us are concerned about how quickly people are signing leases without knowing any of the risks involved,” explained Carrie Hahn, one of the organizers.

“Drilling for the Marcellus and Utica shales is a complex issue,” she said. “There’s a lot more to it than getting a good lease for the most money.”

The organization has established a Web site at frackingtruth.webs.com, and a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/frackingtruth/.

The group’s focus has been education and outreach about shale drilling.

The members have tapped experts for advice and information, plus they have done online research, viewed documentaries and heard speakers, Hahn said.

“Professional scientists have been outspoken about this, and their lectures and testimonies are available on line.”

Hahn said she moved to Lawrence County last year from the South Hills of Pittsburgh, wanting to buy a farm in the area.

“We kept getting confronted by Marcellus Shale issues,” she said, noting the landowner of one tract wanted her family to sign off the surface rights.

“That meant we would end up with a platform on this parcel,” she said, but no royalties from it.

The citizens group has amassed about 60 people on its mailing list. Hahn said the members try to meet every Tuesday at the Westminster College field barn.

(Email: dmorris@ncnewonline.com)

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