A community meeting on natural gas drilling and a proposed community rights ordinance will be held Tuesday, April 26, at 7 p.m., in the North East Intermediate School cafeteria.

The meeting will include a presentation on conventional and unconventional gas wells; the effects of hydraulic fracturing; and how to best assess the benefits, costs and risks associated with natural gas drilling in North East.

Ben Price, projects director for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), will review an ordinance that will be presented to the North East Township supervisors on May 2.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, located in Chambersburg, Pa., has been working with people in Pennsylvania since 1995 to assert their fundamental rights to local self-governance.

Energy corporations are setting up shop in communities across Pennsylvania, to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation, and eventually in the Utica Shale formation, a rich deposit of natural gas beneath North East, Pa. , Lake Erie, and other parts of Pennsylvania.

The gas extraction technique known as “fracking” has been cited as a threat to surface and groundwater, and has been blamed for fatal explosions, the contamination of drinking water, local rivers, and streams.  The potential for poor cement work; uncapped old wells that release methane gas; spills of toxic chemicals; and contamination of streams and municipal water systems by improperly treated flowback water, also known as fracking wastewater, present the biggest problems, experts say.

As recently as April 19, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), citing potentially unsafe drinking water, called on companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation to stop taking wastewater to 15 treatment plants by May 19.

A copy of the proposed ordinance, and a petition urging its passage, can be found at www.OurWaterOurRights.org

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