In the Dec. 10 article, “Robinson board postpones Range decisions again,” Matt Pitzarella, Range Resources’ director of corporate communications, made comments about township solicitor John Smith that are completely inaccurate.
John Smith has helped so many communities for no cost at all when it comes to legal questions around gas drilling. To say that he is trying to get rich at the expense of the taxpayers is ludicrous.
I’ve attended many meetings and conference calls where John Smith participated at no cost to help explain the complex legal issues that surround shale gas extraction. He is also one of the few trusted attorneys for citizens dealing with impacts or engaging in leasing to get help. The money that John Smith makes from serving as solicitor has helped those township leaders protect their residents from drilling impacts.
In reality, Range Resources is getting rich at the expense of the taxpayers. Taxpayers have paid for the ordinance improvements to help protect them from the impacts of drilling. The company also doesn’t have a great record for being transparent and open to questions. I have worked with several organizers that requested the company speak at information events, and Range Resources always declined. They also canceled a public meeting with Cecil Township on Nov. 8 at which the public was going to attend and ask questions. Who’s afraid to be a good neighbor?
It is time for Range Resources to stop wasting their money trying to smear the people who actually help communities and start responding to citizens’ concerns by living up to their, thus far, false claims.
Coptis is a community organizer with the Mountain Watershed Association.
Smith helps citizens