Mars Area school board rejected Rex Energy drilling offer

Mars Area School District's board voted against a lease offer that would have allowed Rex Energy to drill for natural gas under district schools Tuesday night.

Before a public comment session and the 9-0 vote was taken, President J. Dayle Ferguson announced the board's intention.

About 40 people picketed outside the board's meeting room at Mars Area Primary Center tonight, holding signs such as "Vote No" and "Don't drill under kids."

More than four times that number showed up to attend the board's public comment session and gave the board a standing ovation following Mr. Ferguson's announcement.

"Thank you, school board. You did the right thing, but we as a community need to take the next step," resident Charles Clark said.

Rex Energy responded tonight to the district's decision.

“While disappointed, we respect the school board's decision. We will maintain open communication with the district, and other community stakeholders, as Rex Energy moves forward with safe, tightly-regulated development plans for this project." Mike Endler said.

Lexi Belculfine: or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc. First Published March 11, 2014 7:56 PM

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