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Chevron to explain seismic testing for shale gas drilling at Perry Township Fire Hall

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Thursday, May 9, 2013, 7:12 p.m.

Chevron will give a presentation on proposed seismic testing that will pave the way for Marcellus shale gas drilling throughout Fayette County at a public meeting set for 7 p.m. May 22 in the Perry Township Fire Hall.

At last month's meeting, Perry Township supervisors and residents expressed concerns and asked questions about the testing. Supervisor Chairman A.J. Boni said the public meeting was scheduled in response to those questions and concerns.

Rod White, land representative of McDonald Land Services, a company affiliated with Chevron Appalachia LLC, suggested township residents take photos of the inside and outside of their homes before the testing to make sure no damage occurs.

Explosive charges will be used in some of the surveys, White said, but he assured the supervisors and the public that there is very little danger associated with the testing. He explained that seismic testing uses underground sound waves to map hydrocarbon areas that could be suitable for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Marcellus shale gas companies drill holes thousands of feet into the ground and pump chemical-laden water into the holes as they fracture the shale layer to release natural gas supplies.

Residents have expressed concerns that the tests will affect well water or the township's water supply. They are also concerned about the effects of heavy equipment and trucks on township roads.

Township roads are bonded for up to 80,000 pounds, Boni noted.

Township supervisors decided to hold public meetings to inform the public about seismic testing in the township and throughout the county, he said.

“We will do the best job we can to inform the public of what is going to take place,” Boni said.

White said he expects the seismic testing to end in Perry Township in late October.

“The purpose of the testing is to identify hydrocarbons, so we can look for Marcellus shale,” White said.

Boni said the testing will be performed across Fayette County and not just in Perry Township.

Mikal Ann Zimmerman, a representative of policy, government and public affairs for Chevron, said the seismic surveys will provide Chevron with the information it needs as it prepares for the drilling process on land leased from property owners.

“These surveys will show us what we need to see,” Zimmerman said. “It won't be necessary for us to come back to do it again next year.”

In other business this week, the township:

• Accepted bids from A.C. Moyer Co. of Lemont Furnace for paving work on Main, Pilgrim, First, Second, Third and Fourth streets in the village of Whitsett at a cost of $65,914 and Suit-Kote of Washington, Pa., for $36,985.20 to micro seal Memorial Drive in Star Junction.

• Considered the possibility of changing the pension depositor of funds based on a recommendation provided by the township's pension consultant.

• Directed Solicitor Don McCue to review the possibility of establishing a rental property inspection program.

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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