Citizens concerned about fracking attend Pulaski Township hearin - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Citizens concerned about fracking attend Pulaski Township hearing

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PULASKI TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania - Some people who live in and near a Lawrence County community are concerned about the shale drilling going on in their backyards.

At a township hearing Thursday night, the board of supervisors claimed they don't have the authority to regulate drilling while that issue of control is tied up in litigation.

Suzanne Matteo and several other Pulaski Township residents went to their board of supervisors hearing Thursday to try to prevent Hilcorp Energy Company from drilling two more horizontal wells in their community.

"I just think our supervisors are misinformed. This all hit the community so fast. Nobody knew what was coming at them. I mean neighbors were knocking on neighbors doors; quick run down, sign a lease you get $3,000 an acre. Nobody knew what they were in for. They didn't know about the bad water and then when people start finding out about the truth of this they don't want to hear it," Matteo said.

But Pulaski Township Solicitor Richard Harper said the board doesn't have the authority to stop the drilling off State Route 208 near Valley View Road. He said the two applications they unanimously approved Thursday night are related to zoning only, since the law regarding the control they have is being litigated.

"We're bound currently by the existing law and our existing ordinance which doesn't give us authority to regulate whether or not gas and oil drilling takes place. [It] only allows us to regulate zoning issues like setbacks and nearness to buildings and other uses," Harper said.

Matteo brought up a DEP violation that Hilcorp did not report a water contamination complaint at its other well site in the township off of State Route 551 as required within 24 hours. In between the time they did report it, the board had approved the zoning for the well site off of State Route 208.

Hilcorp's attorney said they complied with the DEP violation.

DEP spokesman Gary Clark said the State Route 551 well is currently under investigation because of the complaint and he doesn't believe any more wells are being drilled there until that investigation is complete.

But in the meantime, Matteo and her family want to move. "Me and my husband moved to Pulaski six years ago. I have a business. I mean, it was our little four acres of heaven. We have an orchard; we planted trees that we thought we would see in our seventies. Trees for each of our daughter's births and now we're just going to have to up and move. Hopefully we can sell our house," Matteo said.

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