Schrader yet to decide on attending state DEP conference

August 2, 2013
The entrance to the Worstell impoundment in Cecil Township. - Mike Jones / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

One week remains until Cecil Township supervisors are scheduled to have a private conference with state Department of Environmental Protection officials, and at least one supervisor is still debating whether or not he will attend.

Township Vice Chairman Andy Schrader has spoken against private meetings, especially ones that involve controversial topics, like the upcoming Aug. 9 conference regarding the Worstell impoundment on Swihart Road.

“I still think it should be a public meeting,” Schrader said. “It should be open to everybody.”

The Worstell impoundment, operated by Range Resources, has been a contentious issue since January, when the township mailed a letter to DEP stating Range did not obtain proper approvals for the original use and construction of the impoundment that holds water used in Marcellus Shale well drilling. According to the letter, “Range Resources originally constructed the Worstell impoundment to serve gas wells on two well pads located beside the impoundment, but … Range Resources now desires to expand their use to serve wells located on other property and for general wastewater storage.”

The township requested a public meeting with the DEP in May to discuss the impoundment, but the DEP ultimately opted for a conference open only to township supervisors, township manager Don Gennuso, the township solicitor and DEP oil and gas representatives.

Schrader and Gennuso recently appealed again to the DEP to hold a public meeting, but DEP spokesman John Poister said it would not be possible.

“Their position was rather clear,” Gennuso said. “They prefer that this session be held at their offices.”

The conference will be held at the DEP headquarters in Pittsburgh. Both Gennuso and Schrader also asked Poister if the conference could be recorded on video so that local residents could know what was discussed, but that request was also denied.

Any residents with questions regarding the impoundment can relay them to the township office. All questions will be passed along to supervisors to ask at the conference.

Gennuso said he has received calls from a couple of residents who live near the impoundment, and the most common question he has heard from them is, “How long can we expect this impoundment to be there?”

Schrader said some residents who live near the impoundment have concerns about the amount of traffic along the road. He said a counter on the road has shown that a truck travels in or out of the impoundment property every 18 minutes.

The impoundment and upcoming meeting with the DEP will be further discussed at the Cecil Township supervisors’ meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.

State Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, is urging township residents to attend the meeting to voice their opinions on the impoundment.

“As a Cecil Township resident myself, I think it’s appropriate if people care about the issues with the impoundment,” White said. “I’m encouraging people to come down and let their opinions be heard in the proper forum.”

White said he has reached out to the DEP and requested a discussion regarding the impoundment, but it has not come to fruition yet.

Emily Petsko joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in June 2013. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor's degree in journalism and global cultural studies.

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