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Residents: More Regulation on Compressor Stations Wanted

A public hearing in Cecil Township to discuss an ordinance governing the oil and natural gas industry facilities was again continued.

Supervisors Chairman Mike Debbis said he wants to give MarkWest and other oil and gas companies an opportunity to raise that bar higher before announcing a public hearing Monday would again be continued.

“I’m giving you the opportunity to do the best you can in Cecil Township so you don’t get the bad publicity you’re getting in other communities,” he said at the public hearing held Monday regarding an ordinance that would regulate compressor stations. “Let’s step it up and do it right here.”

The hearing Monday , and the meeting room was packed with people who wanted to ask supervisors more questions and share more opinions about the processing facilities intrinsic to the booming Marcellus Shale industry’s ability to get extracted gas to the market place.

But one by one, residents told supervisors: We want more regulation, not less.

Concerns about everything from continuous air monitoring to the type of fencing that will line the perimeter of these facilities came up – as well as those regarding various other environmental and noise concerns.

Safety concerns also were brought up, and local firefighters’ ability to appropriately respond to emergencies at the sites – with some residents voicing concern about a couple of high-profile fires at drill locations in the region over the past week.

Many others implored the board to “slow down” – asking supervisors to take more time and care in crafting regulations regarding the drilling and processing of gas from the Marcellus Shale.

But Supervisor Tom Casciola said that while the board would be thrilled to be able to do just that, the township isn't in control of the timeline.

“It would be nice to slow down a bit, but it isn’t us,” he said before blasting the state for not helping local municipalities going through the Marcellus Shale boom more.

“(State Rep. Jesse White) seems to be the only one out there interesting in helping us,” Casciola said, adding that he believed the and the concept of an independent gas enforcement officer would be advantageous to the area.

The meeting was continued to 6 p.m. March 31 at the township building to allow for more public comment.

In a separate matter, the township’s zoning hearing board is expected to make a decision on a special exception request by oil and gas company MarkWest to install a compressor station on Coleman Road, off state Rt. 980 at its meeting March 21.

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