Natural gas compressor issue divides Clinton candidates

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The possibility of natural gas compressor stations is in the forefront of the Clinton Supervisors candidates' minds.

Democrat Leroy F. Zacherl is facing Republican Kathy Allen for the seat that is held by Zacherl's wife, Mary.

Zacherl said he thinks developing the natural gas industry in the township could provide good financial avenues.

“I'm not against the development of gas,” he said. “But my opponent has several wells and compressor stations.

“I don't feel that if she were elected she'd do the best for the community, she'd do the best for herself.”

Allen refuted those claims, saying she doesn't own any compressor stations.

“My family has made a personal commitment to preserve our farm through the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program,” she said. “In the future, our farmland cannot be developed.”

The state conservation program protects valuable farmland from being developed in order to ensure a steady food supply.

“I'd like to see our rural and farming character preserved,” she said. “However, I also would like to see opportunities for businesses to grow and thrive in this community. I think the two can be done and accomplished at the same time.

“I'm trying to prove you can have a balance of good business and stewardship practices.”

Allen said even though she has no plans to build a compressor station on her property, she does believe one should be built in the township.

“It's like having an automobile without a wheel,” she said. “You need a compressor station. You can't drive a car without a wheel.”

Both candidates said the state shale fees money the township can pull from the Pennsylvania Utilities Commission, which are based on the number of wells in the township, should be used to update infrastructure.

“I'd use it on maintenance on the roads and facilities in the township,” Zacherl said. “I think they'd be more preventive and ongoing.

“We do have a five-year plan that we're implementing now,” he added. “We will put the money back into the community.”

Allen said using the money on infrastructure would make the area even more alluring to businesses looking to move in.

“We could update five to 10 roads without using taxpayers' money,” she said. “There's still additional ground for businesses to establish themselves on Victory Road (Industrial Park).”

Both candidates said they want to be a supervisor to give back to the community.

“I've been involved with many, many causes,” Allen said. “I established the South Butler Community Library in Saxonburg.

“I own a business in the community,” she added, referring to Armstrong Farms in Clinton. “I know I can help.”

Zacherl said he's familiar with of township's important business and looks forward to helping.

“I served in the military for a lot of years,” he said. “I have no personal gains. I'm a dedicated person.

“I just want to serve the community one more time.”

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer.

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