Posted October 26, 2011- If You Can’t Beat Em’ Buy Em’Hydraulic Fracturing Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
The town of South Fayette, near Pittsburgh, PA passed a local ordinance that prohibits hydrofracking. The overwhelming majority of this upper middle-class town is opposed to fracking, citing its dangers to air and water quality and to the community’s scenic quality of life. In response, Range Resources, a Texas based company has sued the town to overturn the local law.
Range Resources has hired lawyer Kenneth Komoroski to target the town’s law. Mr. Komoroski is known for defending Cabot Oil when it was charged with contaminating 18 residential water wells in Demock, PA and for representing Texas company Chief Gathering in its attempts to run a gas pipeline through a Pennsylvania suburb. The residents of South Fayette have stood strong, with a local citizen’s group spending more than $20,000 to help defend the town against drillers.
Frustrated by the residents resolve, Range Resources took a new tact: It has hired two of the town’s officials within the last six months. In late April, the Town Engineer was hired to become a compressor station and gas processing plant manager. Last week the Town’s Mayor resigned and went to work for Range Resource’s business partner Mark West. This case highlights the willingness of gas companies to steamroll residents using whatever method is available to them and the influence gas money can have on elected officials.
In Schoharie and surrounding counties, the potential influence of gas companies on elected officials is very real and must be discussed openly in the public forum if residents have any expectation that their health, safety and quality of life will be protected.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette