Range records request denied

March 14, 2013

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has denied a request by Range Resources to force Cecil Township to turn over records that the gas-drilling company alleges would prove township supervisors violated the state’s Sunshine Act.

In the request filed by attorney Blaine Lucas, Range was seeking any records of meetings, including executive sessions, the supervisors had pertaining to Range Resources.

Lucas contends the supervisors violated the Sunshine Act by holding unadvertised meetings and making decisions behind closed doors. Specifically, Range contests the township’s hiring of attorney William R. Miller to represent the township on an appeal to the state Department of Environmental Resources regarding Range’s Worstell Impoundment on Swihart Road.

In his decision, Kyle Applegate, appeals officer for the OOR, found that Range failed to prove that requested records were not exempt under the attorney-client privilege provisions of the law and that its request was too vague to enable the township to ascertain which specific records Range was seeking.

Range, which filed its request under the state’s Right to Know Act, has 30 days to file an appeal of the OOR decision with Washington County Court of Common Pleas.

Linda Metz has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2000, covering Washington County courts and politics, as well as the city of Washington. She previously was employed by the Tribune Review. She is a graduate of Point Park College, now a university, in Pittsburgh.

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