Some Murrysville residents still wary of gas drilling
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Several Murrysville residents are still not satisfied with the prospect of natural gas companies setting up shop in their community.
Wednesday evening was the first council meeting since a Jan. 19 public hearing regarding a proposed Marcellus Shale drilling ordinance prepared by a committee geared to protecting the municipality's interests.
The January hearing was attended by an overflow crowd of more than 150. A few of those took the opportunity to speak again Wednesday.
Resident Wanda Guthrie said she is concerned that the committee's legal counsel, William Sittig, may not have been the best choice to represent the group.
She referred to him as a property and land use attorney and added that he offered the community very few alternatives other than "the usual building ordinance guidelines with a portion of Murrysville to be used."
Mrs. Guthrie added she believes additional counsel should be used in advising the group regarding Marcellus Shale deep well drilling.
She also presented council with the names of attorneys Jules Lobel, John M. Smith and Ben Price as potential legal counsel.
During the January hearing, Mr. Sittig advised that drafting a ban of Marcellus Shale drilling stood a solid chance of being overturned in court, an action that could cost the community a large legal bill that would be passed on to the taxpayers.
Mrs. Guthrie, along with her husband Joe, asked council to host a town hall meeting next month to allow for more residents to take part in the conversation.
Mr. Guthrie added that a neighbor allowed well fracking to take place on nearby property, which may have resulted in a small amount of methane gas seeping into the local water supply.
"We recently had our well water tested and found that, in fact, it does contain a small amount of methane," Mr. Guthrie said. "It is still safe to drink, but the methane is there. Of course, we cannot say that the fracking caused the methane to show up in our water. It may have been a coincidence."
Fellow resident Leona Dunnett added that she does not feel it is right that large corporations are infringing on the community's right to clean air and water.
First Published February 3, 2011 9:02 am