Gas Drillers and Townships Working Together Resolve Issues

A recent example from western Pennsylvania illustrates how drilling companies and residents in PA are working together to resolve thorny issues and move forward with gas drilling in a way that everyone can live with:

After months of conflict over gas drilling in Mt. Pleasant Township, David Poole visited from Texas to help calm the waters.

Poole is a senior vice president and the top lawyer for Range Resources Corp., a $9.5 billion oil and gas exploration and production company that spent the spring fighting new rules governing what drillers can do in the Washington County township, which has a population of 3,515 and a $1.2 million budget. Company officials at one point wrote letters threatening to quit supporting local businesses.

So Poole visited, partly to meet with township leaders in private and mend some fences. Local Range Resources officials stopped complaining about the new rules and started adhering to others they had fought, Mt. Pleasant Supervisor Larry H. Grimm said.

"When they said this David Poole wanted to meet with us … I said, ‘Who cares?’ But it turned out to be different," Grimm said, noting that some issues had festered for years without resolution, including limits on work hours and other conditions on drilling. "They worked out a lot of the small problems that could be big problems, and they did a good job on that."

Conflicts between drillers and communities such as Mt. Pleasant, Cecil and North Bethlehem that began with high emotions — often involving threats and lawsuits — lately have ended with calm resolutions.*

*Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Dec 18, 2011) – Conflicts between shale gas drillers and residents seem to be easing