Posted by on December 29th, 2010

The Peters Township Marcellus Shale Awareness Group will sponsor an informational meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5 in the Peters Township Public Library Community Room.

The group of about 40 township residents is concerned about the impact of Marcellus Shale gas drilling upon the community and the environment, and holds meetings as needed.

Speaking during the meeting will be Ben Price, projects director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Veronica Coptis, community organizer for Mountain Watershed Association, and Suzanne Seppi, project manager for the Group Against Smog and Pollution.

“Drilling into the Marcellus Shale and its effect on our environment is something that we, as a community, need to start talking with each other about,” said group member Ellen Mavrich. “The risk involved for our residents must be understood and all options must be carefully considered. Ultimately, the citizens of Peters Township should decide what happens in Peters Township.”

Members of Peters Township Council and the Peters Township School Board voted against accepting a bid from Chesapeake Energy to extract natural gas from beneath public lands. The offer would have produced nearly $1.9 million for the township and more than $300,000 for the school district as one-time amounts, and long-term royalties of about 18 percent of production.

Currently, council is reviewing information received during two public hearings, the most recent being Dec. 8, on a proposed amendment to regulate gas drilling in the township. Adoption of the amendment is expected in late winter.

According to Mavrich, Price and the CELDF assisted Pittsburgh City Council in drafting the city’s Protection From Natural Gas Drilling Ordinance, making Pittsburgh the first municipality in the United States to ban natural gas extraction.

The mission of the Peters Township Shale Awareness Group is to share information on Marcellus Shale issues and to promote the health, safety and welfare of township residents.

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