New Castle News


March 17, 2014

DEP seeks extra hearing, more room

NEW CASTLE — State officials are seeking greater public participation for a hearing on a request that could lead to “forced pooling.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is asking that the hearings be moved to a facility that  can accommodate 500 people, and that an additional day of hearings be added.

“This is the first-ever spacing order application for an unconventional shale gas well, and it is very important to DEP that Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to have their voices heard and comments considered,” said DEP Deputy Secretary Scott Perry.

The hearings are scheduled on a request by Hilcorp Corp. of Texas for the DEP to issue a well drilling and spacing unit order. That order would establish four gas well drilling units on 3,267 acres of Utica Shale formation in various locations in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, and Shenango Township, Mercer County.

Two days of hearings are now set for 10 a.m. and 8 a.m. March 25 and 26, respectively, in the Penn State Extension Conference Room at the Lawrence County Government Center. That room can hold about 70.

The DEP is asking that a third day be added to the two days of hearings to “accept written and verbal testimony from all interested persons.” 

If the well drilling and spacing unit order is granted, the next step would be another hearing on an integration order. If this is granted, it would force holdout landowners to negotiate a price and sign a gas and oil lease.

A decision on the public participation requests will be made by the assigned hearing officer, attorney Michael Bangs of Cumberland County.

The hearing is authorized by the Oil and Gas Conservation Act of 1961. The law’s purpose, according to the DEP, was to encourage development of natural oil and gas resources, to “minimize waste of oil and gas resources which may otherwise remain underground due to inefficient development ...” and  “is intended to protect the correlative rights of property owners who may either be prevented from participating in a voluntary development unit, or who may receive no compensation for the development of their oil and gas resources due to the development ... from adjacent property ...”

More information is available on the DEP website,, by clicking on “Oil and Gas,” “Office of Oil and Gas Management” and then “Conservation Law.”

The DEP announced the hearings last week in legal advertisements and says it sent letters to 200 property owners, although not required by law to do so.

Bangs will make a recommendation on the spacing order after the hearing, but the final decision is up to DEP Secretary Christopher Abruzzo.



Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • 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

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • money.jpg Shenango computers, financial papers seized

    Investigators have seized computers and a host of financial paperwork from the Shenango Township Municipal Building.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • money.jpg Second warrant issued in Shenango Township finances probe

    The home office of Shenango Township’s secretary/treasurer is the subject of a search warrant. A warrant was approved allowing investigators from the Lawrence County district attorney’s office to search Brian Tanner’s home office at 658 Melody Lane Extension in Shenango and seize all computers and computer records.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Our Opinion: Who’s watching the money in Shenango Township?

    The Shenango Township supervisors have some explaining to do. And that’s putting it mildly.

    July 15, 2014 1 Story

  • Shenango places Tanner on leave, schedules meeting

    The Shenango Township supervisors have placed their secretary/treasurer on leave. In a statement faxed late Monday afternoon to the New Castle News, the supervisors said Brian Tanner had been placed on “administrative leave” as the result of a search warrant served on the township municipal building Friday.

    July 15, 2014

  • DROWN.jpg Local teen drowns in Slippery Rock Creek

    Divers from several fire departments responded yesterday to a drowning in the Kennedy Mill area of Slippery Rock Creek. Reports from the scene indicated that two teenage males from the Ellwood-Wampum area had gone swimming in the creek, and that one had gone under and not resurfaced.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

Have you held or will you hold a garage/yard sale this year?

I have and it was a success! It's a great way to get rid of some junk and make a little extra pocket money.
I have, but it didn't go over so well. Better luck next time?
I haven't yet, but I plan to.
I haven't and I don't plan to. It's not for me.
     View Results