As reported in the Observer-Reporter on Wednesday, residents of Cecil Township attending the Board of Supervisors meeting on March 4 sat through yet another presentation by a lawyer representing Range Resources whereby we were told, with a condescending tone, that in essence we and the Board don’t know how to communicate. The lawyer, Blaine Lucas, proceeded to sit down and watch as residents started bickering with each other over drilling, arguably proving his point.
After this display I realized that all residents, and especially the county and township supervisors in Washington County, need to be smart about how we properly take advantage of the massive resource that sits beneath our land. We need to be well prepared, take our time, act strongly when needed and yes, communicate better.
The drilling companies are experts at all four of these actions. How do you think Range Resources got to an enterprise value of over $15 billion? They research the land they want to drill, take time to acquire the leases, prepare the resources they need, get the gas out effectively and communicate their story. While some may take issue at how they conduct themselves – an arrogant public relations message comes to mind – this is simply a public company doing what it needs to grow and is very smart about their strategy.
We also have a lot of smart people living here that have to get along and figure out how to strike the right balance with all the well-documented issues of drilling, whether we will be living under Act 13 or not. We should not be made to look like fools by people that most often do not live in the townships where the drilling is happening or even in this county.
We’ll never have the financial resources of the national and even global corporations that are in our county but we have power in numbers. Our supervisors must be ready to handle the serious topics and remember that some of the best negotiations leave both parties somewhat upset. The new residents with no mineral rights listening to frack water trucks all evening may never see eye-to-eye with the neighbor who signed a lucrative lease and is waiting for the drilling to begin.
If we aren’t organized, this great resource will be monetized by others. Together we can work hard to earn our money, as hard as the gas companies work to earn theirs. That sort of work ethic made this a great county and will serve us best as we progress into a new era that can lead the nation’s economy.