ShareThis Page

Clinton approves Marcellus shale well

| Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Clinton Township supervisors on Tuesday gave an Exxon Mobil subsidiary the go-ahead to drill a Marcellus shale well on private property along Route 228.

Voting unanimously, the board approved the plans of XTO to drill for natural gas on land owned by John and Holly Quinn. The roughly 25 acres the couple owns sits between Sandy Hill Road and Saxonburg Boulevard.

The project also will affect neighboring properties owned by Don Miller and Bruce Kennedy. At 7,000 feet deep, the well will run horizontally about 4,000 feet under their properties to a point near McKay Road and Saxonburg Boulevard.

John Quinn said site construction could begin within the next two weeks.

According to information provided by Supervisor Mary Zacherl, construction of the well pad could take as long as 40 days.

The "fracking" process — the process of using water, sand and chemicals to break the shale and release the natural gas — could take as long as 90 days, she said.

Work will occur around-the-clock.

An XTO official said the company plans to install a pipe running north from the site to carry the gas from the well.

The company will haul fresh water to the site to use in the fracking process. Officials said the residual fracking fluid will be kept in on-site containers to be reused or taken to a disposal site approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The company agreed to lengthy list of requests from supervisors, ranging from ensuring that steps will be taken to prevent mud from getting on the roads work trucks travel to providing a "letter of assurance" it will supply water to any property owner whose well water becomes tainted because of the drilling.

At the very least, the company will test wells within 2,100 feet of the well. Company officials, however, said they could test up to 4,000 feet from the horizontal fracking path.

XTO will test water wells before, during and after drilling, as requested by supervisors.

Drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus shale is a divisive industry. Among other things, those opposed to the drilling argue the fracking process harms the water supply.

None of the roughly 20 residents who attended last night's meeting voiced opposition.

John Quinn said he isn't worried about area water wells being tainted and that he hasn't heard concerns from anyone in the township.

Meantime, supervisors said they plan to lease township property for potential shallow oil and gas well drilling and Marcellus drilling.

Supervisor Jim Halstead said doing so could generate about $160,000 for the township.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.