Plans by a natural gas producer to build a well pad in Cecil Township drew support and opposition during a sometimes contentious meeting Wednesday before the planning commission voted to recommend the driller’s application move forward.
The three commission members voted unanimously to recommend Range Resources’ application to build the pad. It will be the subject of a conditional-use hearing before township supervisors May 8.
Several people who live near the proposed well pad – which would be on property along North DePaoli Road known as the Augustine site – voiced their opposition to the plans before the vote, citing traffic, noise and other concerns about the effects activities at the well pad would have on nearby residents.
“I am encouraging you not to recommend this to the board of supervisors for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of this township, and especially the people surrounding this property,” said Michelle Stonemark, who lives on Sir Robert Drive.
Commission Chairman Walter Krasneski pointed to the opinion of a consulting engineer from Lennox, Smith, Souleret Engineering Inc. that Range had addressed all the criteria for a conditional-use application.
“If we try to stop legal development of any kind – whether it be drilling or bulding a subdivision – we could be sued,” he said. “If we see that they’ve done what they need to do, their due diligence, in regards to all ordinances and meeting our requirements – and again, most of this falls under the state and the federal government – we have to recommend it move on.”
The company’s proposal wasn’t without supporters in the audience.
“We need the natural gas development in Cecil Township,” Darlene Barni said following the meeting. “We need the revenue that Range Resources will bring.”
Representatives from the company also outlined plans for the pad and a timeline for operations there.
Jenninfer Cloonan, director of local government affairs at Range, said the company plans to drill eight wells at the site, which is in the township’s “low-density residential district.”
Cloonan said the company expects vertical drilling at the well between July and August 2018 and horizontal drilling between September and October that year. The company plans well completion – a phase including fracking and flowback – in November 2018.
Along with Krasneski, commission members David Coldren and Barbara Hamilton attended the meeting. Members Ed Badia and Jason Krut were absent.