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Plum/Oakmont

Fracking experts answering questions in Plum tonight

Dillon Carr
| Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, 2:45 p.m.
The Plum  administrtion building
Michael DiVittorio
The Plum administrtion building

A panel of five experts in the field of hydraulic fracturing -- a technique to extract oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals -- will field questions from area residents at a public forum Thursday night.

The members of the panel are:

David Spigelmyer: President of Marcellus Shale Coalition

Dale Scoff: Industry geologist

Jon Stoltz: Duquesne University professor of biology

Matt Kelso: FracTracker Alliance

Doug Shields: outreach liaison for Western PA Food & Water Watch

Plum Borough Manager Mike Thomas said 65 people have pre-registered through Plum's website -- but several of those are not local.

“I've been told to expect groups from upstate New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. area. And we do anticipate protestors,” Thomas said.

He said he has notified the chief of police of what is happening, but does not anticipate anything to get out of hand.

“This is really just for people to ask questions and to be as informative as possible,” he said.

The format of the meeting will involve a moderator who will read submitted questions to the panel, who will then take turns answering them.

About 200 turned out for a public hearing in July to discuss Penneco Environmental Solutions' project. The Delmont company is seeking permits to dispose of fracking wastewater and other fluids at a converted gas well off of Old Leechburg Road near the border of Murrysville and Upper Burrell. Residents expressed strong opposition during the meeting in front of a panel of Environmental Protection Agency officials by speaking into a microphone.

“We won't have a microphone for people to come up to (this time),” Thomas said. “We're not trying to stifle any free speech. We're just trying to make it as informative as possible.”

Residents are not permitted to pre-register, however Thomas said the borough is still accepting pre-registrations and questions. Those interested can do so here . The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at council chambers, 4575 New Texas Road.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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