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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Moon Township’s Oil And Gas Draft Ordinance and Tim McLaughlin

This township is in a very shaky situation. We have a supervisor, Tim McLaughlin, being supported by Frank Sinatra and Jim Vitale, who is part of the lunatic fringe. Tim McLaughlin has deceived the community by making a claim that he is a full-time resident of Moon Township, while being a full-time resident of North Carolina.

According to the State of Pennsylvania Tim McLaughlin is in violation of the handbook.

Here is the entry from the PA Board of Supervisors Handbook:

1.     To serve as a township supervisor, an individual must be a resident and registered voter of the township and must have resided in the township continuously for at least one year before their election.

2.       To qualify as a voter, a person must be 18 years of age and a resident of the election district. To continue serving as a supervisor, an individual must retain residence within the township. A person whose name appears on the district voting register but who is no longer a resident of the township is not a lawfully registered elector.

3.     Legal residence includes not only a person’s intention, but also a physical presence. Intention or voter registration is not enough; an individual must actually physically reside in the township. A person cannot declare a residence inconsistent with the facts of where they actually live.

 The board majority appears to be in a conspiracy to allow Tim McLaughlin to remain in his seat, while stalling until the next primary election. If Tim wants to run again, then he would need to move back to Moon as a full-time resident. The ethical thing to do would have been to resign, while living away, then starting again, once he moved back. But no. His massive self-inflated ego, and delusional view that he is entitled to remain on the board is one reason why Moon Township is in the trouble it is today.

Tim McLaughlin is just one in a long line of deluded, self-important, and egocentric officials, both elected and appointed, that has damaged this township in a significant way. Both political parties are at fault here.

Tim McLaughlin went on his typical tirade during the March 2011 supervisors meeting. He jumped all over the spectrum like a pinball being flippered across the table. He has a difficult time staying focused and controlling his convoluted mind. In addition, Frank Sinatra and Jim Vitale enable him.
Tim McLaughlin’s insane behavior during that meeting was shameful. The issue at hand was not Ms. Jeanne Creese, the township manager, or Walmart, and the public’s disdain for its inevitable arrival, but about the home in Amhurst Acres selected as a group home.

Instead of addressing what the board knew before the township allowed it to move forward as a result of conversations with State Representative Mark Mustio, McLaughlin kept deflecting the focus to unrelated issues.

One unrelated issue was about Jeanne Creese and Sinatra’s repeated demand for her to move into the township. The ridiculous belief that if Ms. Creese were to move into the township, then she should have purchased the Amhurst Acres home as suggested, all would be better.

This is what is wrong with a few of our board of supervisors--their lack of understanding of reality. McLaughlin’s rant that Walmart will bring in 200 jobs is insane and, therefore, all will be good for Moon Township. If you want to know about Walmart and their hiring practices, such as the stealing away of jobs from existing businesses, part-time employees doing near full-time work, and more, then check out Sprawlbusters.com, and MoonFirst.us.

Here is the passage in the Moon Township rules regarding a manager moving into the township.

Chapter 30-3:B reads “The Manager need not be a resident of the township or of the state at the time of his appointment, but as soon as possible, thereafter, he shall become and, during his tenure, remain a resident of the township.”

Nowhere does it say this person MUST be a resident of the township at anytime during his tenure, which can be terminated because “the Manager” shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of Supervisors and may be removed at any time by a majority vote of all the members.” (30-2:B)

(30-3:C) At least thirty (30) days before such a removal becomes effective, the Board of Supervisors shall furnish the Manager with a written statement setting forth its intention to remove him ad the reasons therefore.”

One must keep in mind that often there are reasons why a person cannot just sell their home, pick up and move. One being a poor housing market.

For Sinatra to rail against Ms. Creese for failing to just pick up and move into the township, while allowing McLaughlin to remain on the board after moving away, is absurd and unethical.

As we have witnessed a few of our current incompetent supervisors voting on decisions that many believe to be very damaging to the community, we now are faced with a very real danger to the community and this Marcellus Shale.

If you want to read the Township of Moon’s draft ordinance request it from the township. Here is how the beginning reads:

“An ordinance of the Township of Moon, County of Allegheny and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, amending portions of the Township Zoning Ordinance, codifying as Chapter 208 of the Code of the Township of Moon by authorizing and regulating oil and gas exploration and drilling and facilities relating thereto as a conditional use.”

Nowhere is in this draft does it state the limitations of size of the tanks used, therefore, you might have a huge tank within view of your deck.

Under “Definitions” and within Article XI: Section 208-100.4 “Oil and Gas Drilling”

“Oil and Gas Drilling shall be permitted conditional uses subject to the following”:

You will not find anything in regards to a timeframe of when transporters of materials and equipment who damage roadways must get the repairs done. Will it be one day, one month, or one year?

D. “Any material stored outside an enclosed structure being used as an incidental part of the primary operation shall be screened by opaque fencing, planting, or earthen mounds to ensure that it cannot be seen from adjoining public streets, or adjacent properties and to assure no adverse effect on adjacent property. Toxic or volatile chemicals shall not be stored outside an enclosed structure. Portable equipment not necessary for the continuing drilling or other use of the site shall not be stored on the property except in complete enclosed buildings.

Now there are lots of holes in this section. Portable equipment necessary for drilling can sit outside your window for the duration of the drilling process. Toxic materials, and volatile chemicals can be right next door. What happens if they blow up and spew poisons as you and your family have dinner exposing you to possible carcinogenic poisons. What about the fencing? What if the tank is 20 feet in height?

I.“Any access road to the well site shall be improved with dust-free, all weather surface in such a manner that no water, sediment, or debris will be carried onto any public street.”

And, how will the township monitor this? What we need are official compliance officers, paid for by the drillers to monitor the liquids, chemicals and toxic materials stored and transported. We need water quality testing done daily of our streams and creeks paid for by the drillers and chosen by the township.

Such statements are NOT in this draft document.

K. “The applicant shall indicate the measures to be employed to minimize the noise impacts of the drilling operations to the nearby properties.” How will this be regulated? So, a neighbor must listen to this drilling noise between the hours of 7 A.M. to 9 P.M.? That is what it says, folks!

M. “The applicant shall submit a description of measures that will be taken and safeguards that will be in place to insure that any loss, diminution or pollution of water supplies in area affected by oil and gas drilling activities will be corrected or replaced.”

What does this mean? How quickly will the failures be repaired and persons compensated? One day, one month, or one year? Will the applicant correct or replace at 100% of the costs? Will the applicant be replacing costs of the Moon Township Water Treatment facility?

O. “The operation of any well drilling activities and/or any machinery associated therewith shall be prohibited when it is determined that the noise is sufficient to disturb the peace and tranquility of the general public. This shall be enforced throughout the Township between the hours of 9:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M., Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday and on federally designated legal holidays, except in cases in cases of emergencies involving life or property as designated by emergency personnel.”

This is a bunch of garbage, folks! When we have these drillers grinding away at the ground, forcing pipe through rock, and pumping chemicals into the ground going on without stopping all day long, our noise ordinance is inadequate. An additional ordinance for drillers and noise must be written more restrictive. None of us want to listen to these loud and horrible drilling noises from 7-9. Do you want this next door to YOU, Mr. Vitale?

We all need to be protected from the Marcellus Shale industry that sees Pennsylvania as the new gold rush. Moon Township is the next attack. Since Atlas Energy was bought up by Chevron corporation, we all know that they see huge profits ahead.

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