Range Resources Threatens to Stop Drilling in Mt. Pleasant Township, PA if New Ordinance is Passed

Range Resources, one of the largest drillers in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale, is threatening to stop drilling in Mt. Pleasant Township (Washington County), PA. A letter to landowners in the Township says, in part, “We may be forced to shift activity to other, more cooperative townships.”

Why the threat? The dispute seems to center on the type of permits that will be issued in the Township if a new ordinance is passed later this month.

The township has been working on a new oil and gas ordinance which is slated to be adopted by the end of the month. Range, [Township Supervisor Larry] Grimm said, "is dead set opposed" to gas drilling being a conditional use instead of a permitted use. Conditional use would require a public hearing on each well.*

Matt Pitzarella, a Range spokesman, responded via an email:

“If the township is still uncooperative, we are prepared to explore all options, including no longer drilling, which would cost landowners tens of millions of dollars in lost royalties. We don’t want to do that.”*

Range is hosting a meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Mt. Pleasant fire hall in Hickory to explain its future plans and its position. Range has previously drilled about 100 gas wells in Mt. Pleasant Township.

*Observer-Reporter (Apr 5, 2011) – Driller threatens to stop

  • Do them a big favor Range….go dig a hole in your own backyard and pollute your area/water air. Make sure your family stays close bye so you can watch them die of cancer.

  • Chris Masterson

    Mike Pitzarella:

    Your firm is not the only gas firm in the industry in this area. You are welcome to do business
    in our townships, but not on your terms alone. As they say, “we weren’t born yesterday”.We may
    not know about working with the gas industry, but, you are teaching us fast, to be careful, that is.
    I suppose you have spoken to the Governor’s Office already.

    Bob Franklin

  • V.P.

    We have, on our farm, 5 old wells from the late 1800s/early1900s which were drilled 4000 – 5000 feet closer to the water table then a Marcellus well. Back then, well caseings were not cemented, and when they were plugged there may have only been a locust post and dirt down the bore, as no one checked back then. We have NO problems with our water well. Range, welcome to my land, and thank you!

  • Amifunding

    “Why the threat?”
    Because that’s how gangsters roll!

    Incidentally, here’s another letter Range sent out the SAME WEEK to the same township… I call it the forked tongue letters. ‘Cause these people lie like the Devil. Don’t take my word for it. Look at this letter.
    ” Dear Resident,
    For the last five years, Range Resources has been producing natural gas from Marcellus
    shale wells drilled in Mt. Pleasant Township.
    Over those years, we have become a part of your community. From millions of dollars in corporate giving to tax-free road improvements, Range has strived to be a good neighbor and community partner. As such, we recognize there are some aspects of our operations that are of vital importance to residents.
    With those concerns in mind, we recently decided to adhere to and comply with model
    ordinance language designed to both protect the residents of Mt. Pleasant and allow Range
    to operate safely within the community. The ordinance is broad and covers nearly all
    aspects of natural gas production that could possibly cause concern. In fact, the model
    ordinance language goes further than any legal regulations we have seen to date, in terms
    of scope and requirements, many of which far exceed state-mandated regulations. Some
    items include:
    . Informational meetings for residents of the entire township, and separate meetings
    for any resident within 2,500 feet of a proposed gas well.
    . A full outline of plans and activities for a specific site, including number and location
    of wells, total number of acres that will be impacted during operations, local first
    responder training and more.
    . Extensive sound monitoring/mitigation measures ( some of the most stringent in the
    . Application of the same information requirements when establishing freshwater
    impoundment facilities, and additional language more specific to those facilities.
    . A voluntary Code of Conduct for all employees and contractors including limiting the
    frequency of travel to and from the site, restricting access from adjoining properties
    and ensuring the drilling pad remains clean and orderly at all times.
    Range has had numerous discussions with Mt.Pleasant township officials and has
    informed the township of our intention to comply with this ordinance as it is actually more
    thorough and demands a higher standard than the Township’s existing regulations within
    the Township.
    Range Resources is confident that Mt. Pleasant will be looked upon as the model for how a
    drilling operator and a Township can coexist to safely produce domestic, clean-burning
    natural gas for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.
    Thank you for your time and attention. We look forward to seeing you throughout 2011, and

    My gas company? Range Resources!

  • This sounds very familiar. The story says Range is having a meeting with the people. Chesapeake did that in Texas towns and it is disgusting to see their tactics…when they only invite the people who have already signed leases but yet don’t allow anyone to ask questions. Maybe this is part of the shale playbook.

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  • The townspeople overwhelmingly support Range, yet a few power-hungry residents decide to use a bunch of scare tactics by whining about health hazards that are not based on any evidence from the area. Range has done more for the town than any of the chicken-littles who oppose free enterprise and the will of the people.