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Shale gas drilling presses Jefferson Township supervisors race

| Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Like many candidates from Butler County, natural gas drilling is on the minds of the duo running for Jefferson Township supervisor.

Political newcomer Democrat John D. Fulmer will take on former supervisor Republican Leo John Cypher for the vacant seat on Tuesday.

Cypher lost his seat in 2011 to write-in candidate Rodger Davis after nine years on the board.

“The Marcellus shale is the most pressing issue in the township,” Fulmer said. “If I'm elected, I want to get in there and make sure everything's being handled the right way.

“There have been a lot of wells dug around the area,” he added. “It's important everything's handled the right way. Even if we have to work with the gas companies to fix the problem.”

Fulmer said he thinks drilling in the township might have expanded too quickly, but agreed with the township's decision to allow a natural gas compression station to be built in the municipality.

Cypher disagrees. He said drilling in the township is nothing new and he believes the township has handled the Marcellus drilling boom pretty well.

“We've had well drilling for over 100 years in this area,” he said. “It's just a deeper hole in the ground.”

Cypher said he doesn't think there's a way to slow drilling down.

“Money is what expands (drilling),” he said. “It's private corporations that come in and pay royalties to land owners.”

Cypher said he thinks the township has been treated well by the drilling industry.

“The drilling people have been very up-front and very aggressive during repairs,” he said. “They're willing to go beyond and above just bonding roads.”

“They're very amicable and congenial to work with.”

Fulmer said he thinks he could bring some fresh views to the township.

“I've always been active in local organizations,” he said. “The Girl Scouts and other things like that.

“Some told me I should run, and I thought I could make a difference.”

For Cypher, the opportunity to return to the supervisors was too good to pass up.

“I've always been interested in what's going on with the township and our community,” he said. “I just want to get back on the board. I don't have any specific agenda.”

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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