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Firm wants to drill 2 more exploratory gas wells in Ligonier Township

| Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 11:38 p.m.

Although about 25 Ligonier Township residents attended a public hearing about the construction of two more Marcellus shale exploratory gas wells, few commented against the proposal.

Texas-based XTO Energy already has constructed a well on Dean Nelson's property off state Route 259 and came back to supervisors seeking approval for two more on the site.

The proposed wells will be about 15 to 20 feet from the existing well. If the board approves the project, XTO Energy would have two years to construct the wells, drill and return the site to its original state.

Resident Cheryl Lee said she was concerned that the location -- four miles from the Latrobe Reservoir -- might pollute drinking water.

"Accidents happen," she said. "It's a possibility, and you're talking about a drinking source for so many people."

Supervisor Chairman Timothy Komar said pollution of the reservoir is unlikely.

In addition, XTO Energy representative Ben Kissel said the company has a "laundry list of local, state and federal regulations to meet" that includes laws to protect the water supply.

In addition to the public hearings, supervisors yesterday held their regular meeting and awarded a $150,000 grant to the township municipal authority for the Ligonier East sewerage project.

The project is intended to switch households on Route 30 from septic tanks to sewers.

Supervisors also appointed Robert J. Ramsey to fill a vacancy on the zoning hearing board created by the resignation of Bill Bates. Diane Cipa was appointed as an alternate to the board.

Supervisors also appointed Mark Spitzer to fill John Dougherty's seat on the planning commission after accepting Dougherty's resignation.

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