EYEBALLING IT

Loyalsock Township’s conditional-use hearing for Inflection Energy’s application to construct a gas well site at 2175 Warrensville Road continued at the fire hall Wednesday night.

No decision was immediately announced as of presstime. Additional hearings may be held, but dates and times were not announced.

Gregg Saunders, regulatory and construction engineer for Inflection Energy, testified representing the applicant, arguing that the company is complying with the conditional-use zoning ordinance criteria, specifically referring to construction.

Saunders read through the ordinance requirements and explained how Inflection Energy would meet each one.

The engineer also testified that Inflection Energy is in talks with the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority for a possible water line that will run to the Warrensville Road site and will help alleviate about 50 percent of the truck traffic, a concern that some residents raised previously.

Though an official deal has not been signed, Saunders said the two parties had a “hand-shake” agreement and were working toward an official plan.

Saunders presented temporary water storage plans on site to the supervisors as well.

“We’ll be using an in-ground water storage facility that will only hold fresh water,” he said.

Residents of Loyalsock Township, most within half a mile of the proposed well site, had an opportunity to question Saunders on his testimony. Multiple individuals asked him whether an odorant injection system will be used at the site.

Because the gas coming out of the ground is odorless, residents, such as Jerry Walls, asked why an injection system wasn’t in the proposed plan for the well site for safety purposes.

Saunders testified that there is no township, state or federal regulation to use an odorant injection system on a gas well pad.

Inflection Energy called on Tom Shepstone, of Shepstone Management Co., an independent planning and research consultant, as an expert witness in regard to impact. Shepstone argued that, in his professional opinion, the applicant had satisfied the requirements of the district’s conditional-use zoning requirements.

He listed other structures that fall under conditional use in the proposed district, such as a greenhouse, outdoor entertainment facility and wind energy site. Shepstone said that compared to the impact, economically and aesthetically, these projects would have and, standing on its own, a well pad would have “virtually no impact.”

Shepstone submitted a report that he created by using mapping software and census information. He said the report demonstrated there was little to no current residential growth in the proposed district of the well site, especially when compared to a neighboring district.

“This project proposed by Inflection is not a threat to growth in this particular district,” Shepstone said. “This district is not growing, not like the (neighboring) district is growing.”

Bill Cunion, of Montoursville, questioned the analysis, stating that he lived in the area and knew residential work is being done.

Shepstone replied that his report is based on U.S. census data and, though new houses may be constructed in the district, family sizes are shrinking and therefore still could result in little or no residential growth in an area.

The next Loyalsock Township supervisors meeting will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the township building.