Pulaski Twp. resident raises ethics questions during hearing - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio


Pulaski Twp. resident raises ethics questions during hearing on new drilling permits

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PULASKI TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania - As public officials in one Lawrence County community considered additional permits for horizontal wells Tuesday, allegations against the officials were raised during the public hearing.

It was standing room only inside the Pulaski Township municipal building, as supervisors approved zoning related permits for five additional wells at a current well site on North Valley View Road.

ShaleComm Executive Vice President and Hilcorp Communications Consultant Vince Bevacqua said "There are two wells. Currently a third one is being  drilled. Those had been permitted. Today (Tuesday) we're asking to drill five more wells on the property under the same  conditions on the same pad using the same road. There's really no change as far as the community is concerned."

Supervisor Lori Sniezek now works for Hilcorp Energy and  recused herself from voting on the permits.

However during the hearing, one Pulaski resident testified and submitted documentation as evidence of other potential conflicts of interest for the supervisors.

Pulaski resident Suzanne Matteo said "Some of the information I had was a DEP map saying that Sam Varano's in-laws are going to directly financially gain from these permits as they have the other three he voted on and that's a clear conflict of interest and also all three township supervisors hold current leases with Hilcorp Energy."

The township supervisors and solicitor would not comment on camera. The solicitor says these ethics complaints will be addressed at the next monthly meeting. The regularly scheduled meetings are the first Monday of every month.

Matteo is pushing forward with submitting the documentation to the state ethics commission.

She is also pursuing a lawsuit after her iPad was taken by a police officer while she was recording the regular township meeting on Monday July 1.

"Its clearly they've overstepped their boundaries. They're not above the law. My rights were taken away from me. I was not combative. I've been threatened with disorderly conduct. I had 58 people in there (at the meeting) that said i was willing to give up the iPad. I was willing to leave. I was thrown off," she said.

Chad Adams, the Pulaski Township Police officer in charge, would not comment on camera but said "There was a verbal  altercation and a disruption of a meeting and the individual was asked to leave and refused to leave after several warnings. It (the iPad) was kept as evidence and it has been returned."

Adams said that they are considering charges against two people who were at Monday's meeting during the incident. He did not release their names.

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