• Petitioned William L. McCarrier
  • Responded

This petition was delivered to:

Butler County Commissioner
William L. McCarrier
Butler County Commissioner
A. Dale Pinkerton
Butler County Commissioner
James Eckstein
See response
Chairman of Township Supervisors of Connoquenessing Township
Terry Steinheiser
PA Rep.
Brian Ellis
Connoquenessing Township Supervisor
Scott Longdon
Connoquenessing Township Supervisor
Jack Kaltenbaugh

Rep. Ellis, Butler County Commissioners, and Connoquenessing Supervisors: Don’t steal $1.1 million from 30 families with contaminated water

    1. Petition by

      Marcellus Outreach Butler

We the undersigned demand that the $1.1 million in Act 13 impact fees received by Butler County and Connoquenessing Township be used to provide water to the impacted families of the Woodlands whose water has been contaminated since hydraulic fracturing started in their rural community.

As of Jan. 25, 2013, thirty (30) families in the Woodlands area of Connoquenessing Township, Butler County, PA now rely on local churches and other sources of water for drinking, bathing, and cleaning. Community members first reported contaminated water in 2010, shortly after Rex Energy started using the controversial technique called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in their rural community. Water and air tests have revealed high levels of VOC’s and other toxins associated with fracking.

In Oct 2012 Butler County and Connoquenessing Township received over $1.1 million in Act 13 impact fees (Garrett, 2013). Although yet to earmark the funds, the county commissioners and township supervisors have indicated that they have no intentions of spending any of the $897,000 and $205,486 respectively to help their constituents receive clean safe water. Instead County Commissioner and former Vice President of Interstate Pipe and Supply, Bill McCarrier was quoted in the Butler Eagle that he plans on spending the money to fill gaps in the County's budget. “We've had so many cutbacks from the state, for example, human services and the 911 center, Medicare and Medicaid payments to Sunnyview,” McCarrier said (Biller, 2013). The Township Supervisors have told the residents that they will not help and that the residents should file a class-action suit against Rex Energy. This line of thinking runs counter to the public promises made during the debate of Act 13 and may, in fact, be illegal under §2314 of Act 13.

During the passage of Act 13, Connoquenessing’s State Representative and prime sponsor of Act 13, Brian Ellis said the following about the Impact Fee. "Whatever project – whether township, borough or county-level, can only use the money for restoration or repairs," he said. "They can’t use it for anything else. We're not giving them an additional revenue that they could spend willy-nilly," he continued (Olson, 2011). Furthermore, Act 13 §2314(g) states “A county or municipality receiving funds under subsection (d) shall use the funds received only for the following purposes associated with natural gas production from unconventional gas wells within the county or municipality” (emphases added)”. The following subsections include:
(2) Water, storm water and sewer systems, including construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair.
(5) Preservation and reclamation of surface and subsurface waters and water supplies.

As you can clearly see, both the intention and the letter of Act 13 regarding the Impact Fee mandate that any money received under §2314 be spent on those impacted by “natural gas production from unconventional gas wells.” And unless there are other communities or individuals that fit that description, you are obligated see that the full $1.1 million be spent on those impacted in the Woodlands community.

Marcellus Outreach Butler is a group of Butler County, Pennsylvania individuals and coalitions concerned about the health and safety of our communities due to horizontal, slickwater, hydrofracture drilling in Marcellus Shale for the extraction of natural gas.

Cited:
Biller, Ed. “Neighbors Continue Battle about Water.” Butler Eagle 19 Jan. 2013.
Garrett, Kelly B. “Marcellus Shale Windfall Unspent.” Butler Eagle 2 Jan. 2013.
Olson, Laura. “Ellis: impact fee for locals only.” Post-Gazette 16 June 2011.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 1,000 signatures
    2. Decision-maker James Eckstein responds:

      James Eckstein

      PEOPLE OF THE WOODLANDS MUST UNITE

      The Butler County, Pennsylvania Commissioners are aware of the ongoing water problems existing in the Woodlands of Connoquenessing Township. Although providing water is not a legal obligation of coun...


    3. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Steven Todd HUMMELSTOWN, PA
      • 5 months ago

      Honorable Butler County Commissioners McCarrier, Pinkerton and Eckstein:

      I am a cosigner of the petition to which you offer lengthy reply. I do not live in the affected community, nor do I have one single penny to gain or loose by its resolution.

      Your response indicates that perhaps you don't understand the petition. No one therein asked you to provide water or regulate any industry. I disagree with Commissioner Eckstein's statement that: "residents must also be willing to participate with their time and resources." These residents did not pollute their drinking water.

      As commenter Shirley Bates of Evans City, PA said so concisely: "The money needs to be distributed to help those that have been effected by the drilling." Joseph McMurry of Butler, PA adds: "This is clearly an "impact" of natural gas drilling. This is what the "impact fee" was set aside for."

      While you studiously and correctly list all the things Marcellus Impact money may be spent on, no one ever questioned that. We, the cosigners demand the money be spent on this actual and most immediate impact from this industrial activity, FIRST. Money leftover might quite appropriately be spent on these other fine measures of dubious tie to Marcellus-related activities.

      What you cavalierly call "a waiting game" is anything but to those at Ground Zero. Marcellus activities heaved a cost of their activities onto these folks. No one has much control over "if and when the water line becomes available for extension," or over "a possible housing development." Neither are the point of the petition. The most pressing impacts must be fairly compensated before lesser impacts are mitigated.

      Lastly, blame must NOT be set aside. Blame is squarely and 100% solely on the shoulders of those who polluted the water to which these citizens are entitled. Blame - and therefore, obligation to fix the problem - is 0% on those citizen, who are your constituents.

      Sincerely,

      Steven Todd, PE

      Executive Director/Principal, Todd Engineering, LLC

      http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenwtodd

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kellee Browning CRESAPTOWN, MD
      • 5 months ago

      Because we no longer are chained to DIRTY ENERGY~ WE HAVE CHOICES NOW!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • joe wheeler EVANS CITY, PA
      • 8 months ago

      When they drilled the Carson well and blew through the old mine shafts dumping all the water that has been collecting them over a hundred years in to our aquifer it contaminated a lot of wells in the area

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kristina Turechek OTEGO, NY
      • about 1 year ago

      Gas companies need to pay for the damage they do, and the impact fees need to go directly to help those affected. My sister lives in PA - we both grew up there. Several years ago I had considered retiring there, but it would be too dangerous now to even consider it.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • K Knauss CORAL SPRINGS, FL
      • about 1 year ago

      I grew up in westen PA and want to retire in a nice country home where I can enjoy my family, long time friends,nature and have plenty of CLEAN water. You MUST assist these families and STOP the raping of our precious land and water.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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