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Drillers heeding complaints, Washington Township says

| Friday, March 11, 2011

Beaver Run Marcellus drillers are proving to be good neighbors despite anticipated nuisances, according to the Washington Township supervisors.

The supervisors say that minor snafus such as littering and heavy truck traffic associated with the Marcellus shale natural gas exploration near Beaver Run reservoir have been put to rest promptly by the driller, Consol Energy.

Preparation for the most recent battery of Marcellus wells to be drilled off Tower Hill Road are bringing in the scattered complaints that supervisors say they expected.

"Every day that I go over there, they're working on the road," Supervisor Joe Olszewski said. Olszewski was referring to work being done by drillers to widen the access road linking Tower Hill Road to Consol's eight Marcellus wells.

Resident Jeff Pope of Tower Hill Road told supervisors that he picks up trash along the road about every two weeks. He said that the intersection of Route 380 and Walker Road is regularly strewn with litter.

Pope said he believes that truck drivers contracted by Consol are throwing the trash from their vehicles.

"Two weeks ago, I filled a 30-gallon container," he said.

Pope asked supervisors to install a "no littering" sign near the roads to deter the offenders.

Olszewski said supervisors have complained of litter along township roads to Consol in the past and were pleased with the response.

"We called them, and they sent people over to pick it up," he said.

Olszewski said that despite the township's inability to prove that Consol drivers are responsible for the litter, the energy provider has acted on the matter in good faith.

"They want good relations," Pope told supervisors. "There's no doubt."

Olszewski said that prior to drilling activity near Tower Hill Road, Consol representatives visited neighbors on Walker, Fox and Tower Hill roads. Each of the residents, he said, was given contact information in order to address any drilling-related problems or questions.

Olszewski said he visited Tower Hill Road earlier this week and that "it looked pretty good."

He said supervisors may possibly consider including litter-related wording in contracts with drillers.

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