Still no decision on well pad site

The people have spoken.

At Wednesday night’s continuation of the hearing for the Inflection Energy well pad suggested for Palmer Road, residents of Loyalsock Township and other community members had their chance to voice concerns and share their testimonies.

Attorney Jonathan Butterfield, representing several residents living in the immediate area surrounding the proposed well site, focused on the definitions for conditional-use properties according to township ordinances.

The proposed well site will pump water up the hill through a pipeline, which Butterfield argued better fits a definition of a staging facility. While an oil and gas facility is permitted in agricultural zones under current ordinances, this type of facility is not.

Butterfield called several residents to testify.

Tim Hargenrader, a former worker in the natural gas industry, said he believed the site will give off more noise and air pollution than Inflection Energy has let on.

Katie Burdett, a young local resident and recent high school graduate, expressed her concern for her family’s well-being. She feared that the site’s all-hours truck traffic and activity would disrupt the lives of her parents as well as her younger siblings.

Many others voiced their concern with safety for traffic on the road as well as the safety of joggers and bikers who frequently travel the roads.

Others focused on the potential impact the site could have on property value.

Both Harvey Katz, of Montoursville, and Laura Capel, a Loyalsock Township resident whose property borders the Palmer Hill site, offered up arguments that suggested property value would go down once a natural gas site was built.

Katz reported that he had done research and found certain banks will refuse mortgages to homes with pipes on their property. When cross examined by Inflection Energy representation, Katz did say that he had not personally witnessed this occurrence but had read data and policy that supported his case.

Capel shared a study conducted by Duke University on 1,300 homes in Pennsylvania that reported property value has diminished by around 24 percent on homes located near such well sites.

She also highlighted potential environmental hazards coming from a well pad, such as gas emissions and chemicals in the dust given off from the well site. Capel found this information through items she had read.

Not all in attendance were against the well site.

Russel Walters said he didn’t see the installation of a well as any worse than other construction projects that go on daily.

“Just think about what we’ve been living with already. Is this any better or worse?” he asked.

Though citizens had a chance to voice their concerns, the board of supervisors decided it needs more time to consider information presented during the meeting. The public hearing will continue at 7 p.m. July 2 in the social hall of the Loyalsock Township Fire Co.

A final vote on the site will be taken at either the July 8 or July 22 regular meeting of the board.