Highland Township, Elk County, Pennsylvania – March 2, 2015.
With the support of Highland Township citizens, the township supervisors voted at Monday night’s meeting to defend its CELDF drafted Community Rights Ordinance banning toxic shale gas waste water injection wells anywhere in the township. The US EPA permitted Seneca’s Marcellus / Utica shale gas waste water injection well near the Highland Township Water Authority’s “Crystal Spring” drinking water source in spite of the township’s Ordinance banning injection wells.
Seneca Resources Corporation, a subsidiary of Williamsville, NY based National Fuel Gas Distribution Co., got its answer loud and clear from the community it has been bullying for the past three years by trying to force a toxic shale gas waste water injection well near its drinking water source.
It’s all about the Houston, Texas based corporation putting its profit above the rights of the local community to say no to a toxic injection well threatening its clean, safe drinking water. Seneca is claiming that the corporation’s right to inject toxic, radioactive shale gas waste water into the community instead of having to pay to haul it all the way to Ohio is more important than the community’s right to protect itself through laws such as the Community Rights Ordinance.
Seneca claims that the township does not have the authority to enact such Ordinances because the Township is preempted by state and federal law. Seneca claims “corporate personhood” and that its constitutional rights are violated by this Ordinance.
Seneca Resources Corporation has been attempting to intimidate the township by threatening to file a law suit that would bankrupt the township since January of 2013. When Seneca’s schmoozing and threatening the township with a lawsuit didn’t intimidate the township into rescinding its ordinance, Seneca filed suit on February 20, 2015, in Federal Western District Court in Erie, PA against the small, rural township in the Allegheny National Forest. This is the same gas company that is refusing to bond the township’s roads as required by Pennsylvania law that its trucks use and damage for its drilling operations.
Citizens from surrounding communities are supporting Highland Township’s right to protect its clean, safe drinking water and to not be bullied by the Houston, Texas oil and gas company.