Marcellus Shale Drilling Hot Topic at DuBois City Council Meeting

DUBOIS – Marcellus Shale became a hot topic at Monday night’s DuBois City Council meeting after Councilwoman Diane Bernardo sought approval of the council to support House Bill No. 2213, which was approved by House Environmental Resources & Energy Committee.

The bill, which is sponsored by state Rep. Camille “Bud” George, is meant to provide safeguards from drilling accidents.  Councilmember Randy Schmidt requested that the issue be tabled until the members had a chance to read over the bill, which was not done prior to the meeting.

A concerned citizen then spoke up during public comments and urged the council to read the bill and to support it.  According to the woman, her neighbor, who lives a mile and a half away, was impacted by the recent gas blowout.  She told council that the neighbor’s water was so contaminated that he could not even bathe in it.

The blowout involved natural gas and wastewater that shot 75 feet into the air after drillers encountered unexpectedly high gas pressure.  It occurred about 10 miles north of Interstate 80, just outside the Moshannon State Forest in Clearfield County.

City Manager, John “Herm” Suplizio, said that the city is primarily comprised of a low-income, elderly population.  The tax breaks this would offer could help that demographic, especially when it comes down to raising taxes.  Suplizio said that raising taxes for this group of people would mean they couldn’t afford certain things anymore.  Suplizio also said they aren’t ruling anything out, but rather weighing the gains versus the risk.

Mayor Gary Gilbert said that in a recent meeting they were told that I-80 is more of a risk than Marcellus Shale-related drilling incident because they are unaware of what the trucks haul that drive the roads.

Another concerned citizen, Eric Renzel, challenged council to think about the risks involved in allowing the drilling to occur and the possible hazard it could pose to the city’s drinking water.  He also relayed accounts of incidences where he directly observed a truck labeled “residual waste” dumping its contents on the interstate.  He said he made eye contact with the driver of the truck and he stopped dumping.

The woman asked council what the results of the Canterbury Study were, but she was told that the study is ongoing and instead of trying to piecemeal what they do know, it would be more beneficial to wait until the study was complete, at which time there will be a public meeting.

Schmidt said that he was once told, “no one has ever put a dollar figure on our water shed.”  He said that they would look into the bill and the concerns of the citizens.

Original article can be found at, which was offline at the time of this posting

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