New Castle News

July 4, 2013

Pulaski officials OK more gas wells

Mary Grzebieniak
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Pulaski officials approved a conditional use permit to add more gas drilling wells at a township farm site.

Township Supervisors Sam Varano and Greg Carna approved Hilcorp Energy Co.’s request to allow five more wells to be drilled at an R-1 residential zoned property owned by Rick Kinkela at 691 N. Valley View Road.

Conditional use permits were granted last year for a well pad and drilling of three wells on the property. Spokesman Vince Bevacqua of Shalecomm said two of those wells are drilled already and one is in the process. He said the site has not yet gone into production.

The third supervisor, Lori Sniezek, recused herself from the proceedings at the outset, she said, “because of a possible conflict of interest because I am an employee of Hilcorp Energy.”

Although about 40 residents attended, only one commented for the record in the quasi-judicial proceeding.

Suzanne Matteo of North Bedford-Sharon Road, stated that “all three supervisors currently hold leases with Hilcorp Energy.”

She also said Keith and Michelle Hoffman, Varano’s in-laws, “financially benefit” from the wells under consideration, a situation she called “a direct conflict of interest.” She presented documents which township solicitor Richard Harper accepted into evidence.

She stated that any action taken Tuesday would be “a waste of time” because she is filing a complaint with the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission.

After the meeting, Harper stated that findings of fact and conclusions of law on the decision will be available for the public at the next supervisors meeting, set for 7 p.m. Aug. 5 at the township building.