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SHARON Gas company wants to drill near apartments



Published: Fri, February 21, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The authority executive director has reservations about drilling next to an apartment.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- A gas company wants to drill a gas well in the Mercer County Housing Authority's Malleable Heights apartment complex on Ravine Place.

Representatives of CapRock Oil & amp; Gas of Warren appeared at a housing authority board meeting Monday to discuss the plan.

The company will pay the authority a $5,000 drilling bonus plus royalties expected to total between $1,000 and $3,000 a month, if the well is good.

Those royalties should last 15 to 20 years.

L. DeWitt Boosel, authority executive director, said the company also offered free gas but the authority would have to pay to run a line from the gas wellhead to its community center on Quinby Street, an expense it may not wish to incur.

The company wants to drill in a parking lot off Ravine Place adjacent to apartments in the complex, and Boosel said that raises some concerns about safety of residents during the four- or five-day drilling process as well as after the well and storage tanks are in place.

The company has indicated the wellhead will be only a single pipe sticking out of the ground that can be fenced in to prevent access by anyone other than company representatives.

Storage tanks

The storage tanks could actually be put in a vacant lot at the corner of Ravine Place and George Street and could be fenced in to secure them as well.

The authority board didn't have a quorum Monday and took no action on the request.

Member Timothy Jablon said the board should visit the site to get a look at the company's plans and how they might affect complex residents.

The safety of residents is paramount, Boosel said.

Boosel said the Ravine/George vacant lot might be a better place to drill a well, but a company spokesman said the Ravine Place parking lot would be simpler because there are no private residences within 330 feet of that site.

State regulations require the company to get written approval from anyone living within 330 feet of a proposed well location. The Ravine/George lot is closer than that to some private property across George Street, the spokesman said.

Even if the authority approves the plan, the state Department of Environmental Protection must issue drilling permits, Boosel said.




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