A short meeting of the Robinson Township supervisors turned into a lengthy discussion of the lawsuit Range Resources filed against the township in January, with some residents concerned about a potential loss of gas revenues.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, residents spent about an hour discussing the township’s recent decision to reject the company’s plans to drill two Marcellus Shale wells.
Noting the financial impact gas drilling has had throughout the county, resident Charles Hughey asked supervisors what course of action residents can take to help resolve the conflict between the township and Range Resources.
But Brian Coppola, chairman of the supervisors, said there is little the township can do at the moment.
“It’s out of our hands right now. They sued us. Believe me, we’d love for them to come in and reapply, but that’s their choice. It’s not our choice,” Coppola. “I wish they’d come back tomorrow and reapply.”
Range claims Robinson Township supervisors are deliberately refusing to make decisions on applications to drill on a 167.5-acre parcel owned by Michelle F. Parees and Robert M. Frame and on an 84-acre parcel owned by Rodger C. and Susan C. Kendall on Valley View Road in Bulger.
Applications were filed by Range in September. A hearing for the Parees property was held Nov. 20 with a decision due by Jan. 4, while a hearing on the Kendall property was held Dec. 10 with a decision due by Jan. 24, according to court papers filed by Range.
Supervisors contend they rejected the wells because Range hadn’t properly answered questions about site plans and noise standards.
Range contends it has met the same requirements for the two proposed wells as it has for three others the company drilled in the township in 2010.
Supervisor Mark Brositz said the township had enjoyed a good working relationship with Range Resources during previous application processes, but felt the company failed to answer two specific questions he asked, including one regarding the sound ordinance.
Coppola said the township will publish a newsletter in the next month or two to update residents about drilling issues and other township issues. According to Coppola, the newsletter will help minimize “misinformation” regarding drilling. The township also is working on a website that will be completed next month.
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