White to host meeting on municipal co-op program
From the Observer-Reporter
State Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, is hosting a public meeting with local municipal officials to solicit feedback on his plan to create a Marcellus Municipal Co-op program to better deal with natural gas issues within the region.
White will host the meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 15 at Canon-McMillan High School to discuss local drilling activity and how a co-op could increase safety, provide educational opportunities, facilitate communication and improve enforcement of local regulations. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the public is invited to attend and offer their comments.
"Like any industry, danger is always a factor for those involved with Marcellus Shale drilling; however, we must continue doing what we can to ensure the safety and well-being of our local communities," White said. "When the public hears about accidents like the one at Avella last week, they have questions and concerns about their safety and if regulations are being adhered to. State and local officials should work together with drillers to mitigate the public's concerns with drilling," White said. "I want to be clear that the MMC program is neither pro-drilling nor anti-drilling."
White noted that last week, a storage tank caught fire at a Chesapeake Appalachia natural gas well site in Avella, injuring three workers and alarming neighboring residents. Another minor incident occurred this week involving a small fire at a nearby compressor site.
Under White's co-op plan, participating municipalities could work together to hire a natural gas enforcement officer, who would visit drilling and natural gas compression sites within that municipality, enforce the local ordinances on a regular basis and respond to concerns in a timely manner. In addition, the MMC would provide a forum for municipalities to communicate their needs and remain educated in dealing with gas-related issues.