Opinions differ on upcoming Range meeting
CECIL – Differing opinions over whether the public should be allowed to comment during Thursday’s meeting with Range Resources were voiced at the Cecil Township board of supervisors meeting Monday night.
Thinking that they might not be able to offer their opinion or ask questions, some strongly objected, while others said it should be a time for the public to remain silent.
Even supervisors had mixed ideas about how the meeting, set for 6 p.m. Thursday at the municipal building, should be conducted.
Range Resources had requested the meeting to establish a positive working relationship between the natural gas drilling company and the township.
Originally scheduled for Nov. 8, it was canceled after Range objected to state Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, posting on Facebook that he planned to attend and inviting others.
White said Tuesday he still plans to attend but questioned why there is no meeting agenda that lays out the specific issues to be addressed.
Board Chairman Michael Debbis expressed his hope that the board would hear from Range first before the public asks questions.
One woman suggested the board not allow public comment until another meeting can be scheduled.
Saying the meeting should be private, Supervisor Elizabeth Cowden suggested it be taped and tapes made available to anyone who requests them.
“This is a meeting between us and Range,” she said to Rose Churray, who fears she may not be allowed to speak.
Churray said the natural gas drilling company should not be allowed to put conditions on the meeting.
“Who built this building, who put you people in your chairs?” she asked. “We are Cecil. We were here before these people came and we’re going to be here after they’re gone.”
Supervisor Andrew Schrader said that even when the board has held workshop meetings on the budget they have allowed for public comment.
A representative from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association said whenever there is a quorum the board must allow for public comment. Manager Donald Gennuso noted that the board cannot take official action in a workshop meeting.
In an email seeking comment, Matt Pitzarella, a Range spokesman responded, “It’s our desire to continue to work with all units of local government and the meeting in Cecil is really no different than the other hundreds of local meetings we’ve participated in, which is an opportunity to touch base, discuss future plans, and find ways to better work together.”
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