Friday, September 16, 2011

DALLAS TWP. - Residents erupted in protest Wednesday after the supervisors unanimously

Author -

DALLAS TWP. - Residents erupted in protest Wednesday after the supervisors unanimously voted to approve an agreement with Chief Gathering LLC to run a natural gas pipeline within a third of a mile of the Dallas district schools.

The agreement, similar to one the supervisors approved on Aug. 16 with Williams Field Services, sets provisions Chief must follow in the construction of a pipeline from natural gas wells in Susquehanna County to connect with the Transco interstate pipeline in Dallas Township. "We resent the fact that you're force-feeding us something we haven't even seen in writing," resident and supervisor candidate Liz Martin said.
The township's planning commission gave Chief conditional approval Tuesday night for the pipeline; the company has to show proof it has obtained the required state permits.

Township solicitor Thomas Brennan said the agreement with Chief, like that with Williams, calls for:
  • A 25-foot setback away from neighboring properties.
  • Chief still has to go through a land development and zoning process for the metering station to measure gas going into the Transco.
  • All laws and federal regulations will apply to the pipeline construction.
  • The metering station has to be "as benign" as it can be.
  • Chief won't put anything else natural gas-related within 1.75 miles of the Dallas district schools.
The agreement and planning commission approval are based on Chief's May 3 application, which calls for the pipeline to run through Goodleigh Estates. If the pipeline route is changed, it will require a new agreement and approval.

Development residents Jeffrey Dickson, his wife Jo Ann, their neighbors William and Patricia Watkins and Scott and Kelley Watkins filed a legal action April 26 against neighbor, Tuula D'Anca, for leasing Chief a right-of-way through her property; they say she violated the development's covenants.

Dickson's attorney, Robert D. Schaub, asked the supervisors to postpone the vote until they had a chance to look at the deeds and covenants. But Brennan said it is a private matter, so the township cannot get involved. The residents can go to court and get an injunction, "and this agreement does not stop you from doing that," he said.

"The agreement was fair for both parties and Chief is glad we were able to come to an understanding with the township," Chief's attorney Jeffrey Malak said.  Residents let loose with calls of "traitor" and "turncoat" to Malak when he told them he was a Back Mountain resident as well. There was also a lot of anger at the supervisors, who, as resident Calvin Tinsley noted, were not listening to the residents who elected them.
Resident Wayne Dottor said the agreement should be modified to put the pipeline somewhere without residences and not near schools, like the Luzerne County Fairgrounds.

The gas companies' arrogance also came up, including being referenced by Brennan and blasted by Tinsley, who said, "You people don't seem to understand. They don't give a damn." He said he has a pipeline on his own property and the company invaded what were supposed to be protected wetlands. "That's why we're outraged. They come in here with their monster arrogance," resident Jim DeMichele said. In other business, Brennan unveiled an amendment that would update the township's zoning ordinance to address issues related to natural gas drilling, including metering stations and pipelines. Other than existing pipelines, township officials "never really dreamed" there would be the kind of Marcellus Shale development that occurred over the past three years, Brennan said.

The amendment can be read online at and copies will be available in the township building. The supervisors will accept residents' comments on it until Oct. 13., 570-821-2072

My comments are as follows:
1. Where is the health and safety plan?
2. Where is the emergency response plan?
3. Who will tell the community what to do in the case of an emergency with either the gathering line or the Transco Pipeline?


1 comment:

  1. Pennsylvania Well Owners, Watershed Groups, and Lake Associations - We need your help!
    This survey is part of the efforts of Mr. Brian Oram, Professional Geologist, and owner of B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc to help educate and inform the community. The survey will not be published and all information is confidential.

    Part of this survey will be used to create a new booklet that helps educate private well owners and policy makers in our community- direct educational and informational programs.

    This survey is not funded by any outside company or organization and solely funded by Mr. Brian Oram.