New Castle News

TOP STORIES

March 18, 2014

Anti fracking group waits for answer to its letter

NEW CASTLE — More than 20 state environmental groups are asking that March 25 and 26 hearings on proposed “forced pooling” be postponed.

They say more time is necessary to allow members of the public to voice their opinions.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced the hearings in a legal ad which ran March 11 in the New Castle News.

The hearing would be the first step toward a DEP decision on whether Hilcorp Energy Company can force landowners to allow gas and oil drilling.  Hilcorp claims to have contracts signed by 99 percent of the landowners in the affected areas but is seeking to force the few remaining holdouts to sign a contract. The areas in question are located in Pulaski Township Lawrence County and Shenango Township Mercer County.

Still unresolved are such issues as whether the hearings will be moved to a room which will accommodate more than 70 people and who will be allowed to speak at the hearings. The environmental groups say they want to make sure that not only Hilcorp and DEP officials will be heard.

The DEP also expressed concerns last week about accommodating what they called “significant public interest” in the hearing.  They have asked hearing officer Michael Bangs, a Cumberland County attorney, to move the hearings to a room which can accommodate 500 and also to add a third day of hearings to allow all interested persons to submit written and verbal testimony.

Morgan Wagner of the DEP Press Office said yesterday she is not sure when a hearing officer will make a decision on these issues.

A citizen’s groups sent a letter to the DEP last week asking for several things, including notification of affected landowners, an evening hearing, a comment period , instructions for those who want to provide testimony, directions for submitting written comments, and a venue with adequate seating.

Yesterday, they said they are still waiting for an answer.

Karen Seridun of Kutztown in Berks County, founder of “Berk’s Gas Truth” said, “At this point, if the hearing officer decides the public can participate, it will be only a week or less before the hearing.”  She added that if he decides they can’t, “people who saw the formal notice and are making arrangements to attend may find out when they arrive that they won’t be allowed to comment.”

Seridun said she is working with several local residents who contacted her.

The hearing, which will be the first attempt in 30 years to use the law to require forced pooling “is an explosive issue that requires expansive public discussion and DEP should be transparent and straightforward in addressing it...” said Tracy Carluccio, deputy director of Delaware Riverkeeper Network, according to the press release.

“ The public needs to be involved in every step of the process,” Seridun said.

She said that some of the affected landowners have not even been individually notified of the hearing.

The letter was signed by 23 organizations and 58 individuals, several of them from Lawrence County.

Seridun’s website is www.gastruth.org and she said the group also has a Facebook page.

(Email: grzebieniak@ncnewsonline.com)

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
TOP STORIES
  • DougDanko.jpg Census shows county population getting older

    Lawrence County’s population continues to get older. However, it is not alone, as Pennsylvania overall is aging.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • backpackproject.jpg Councilman picks up tab to help lunch program

    Participants of a local summer feeding program are eating this week courtesy of New Castle City Councilman Tim Fulkerson. On Friday morning, the truck dispatched from New Castle to pick up about 3,500 pounds of items from the Pittsburgh Food Bank broke down as it arrived at its destination.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CRESTVIEW.jpg Outreach: Churches plan to host picnic for residents of Crestview Gardens

    Volunteers from several area churches are banding together in hopes of bringing peace to a troubled neighborhood.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Council OKs funds to remove dead trees

    New Castle City Council has approved spending funds from its contingency account to remove some trees at Darlington Park. Marshall Tree Experts of Ellwood City has given an estimate of $12,000 to remove the large elm trees from the Mahoningtown park.

     
     

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 12.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Night light

    The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

House Ads
Poll

Do you talk to yourself when you're alone?

Yes, but I’m basically just thinking out loud.
No, that would be weird.
I don’t know. Next time I’m alone, I’ll ask.
     View Results