Cecil Township held a public workshop on their oil and gas ordinance: Here is what residents had to say

Posted Mar 2, 2020, by Heaven Sensky

Augustine well pad construction distance from Windsor Woods, N. Depaoli Road, Cecil Township

Augustine well pad construction distance from Windsor Woods, N. Depaoli Road, Cecil Township

In August, CCJ posted a blog to encourage and inform Cecil township residents to ask pointed questions to their Board of Supervisors regarding a well pad that was permitted beside a housing development known as Windsor Woods. 

Since then, residents organized through an election cycle and were given the opportunity last week to present recommendations to the board for changes to be made to the Township’s Oil and Gas Ordinance.

 In preparation for the meeting, CCJ served our members in Cecil township during this pressing time by knocking over 300 doors and by a text bank sent out to every publicly available cellphone in the Township. In addition, with the help of residents, CCJ offered free childcare and “Pizza and Prep” for residents who needed support in making public comments. The pre-workshop meeting was held in Generations, the rentable space in the Township Building. While we expected less than 15 residents per RSVPs, we were surrounded by community members when over 40 residents showed up to prepare. With Southwest Environmental Health Project, we were able to provide residents with pointed recommendations based on public health research and reflective of how other townships in Pennsylvania have managed to protect residents from Shale Gas Development.  

When we walked over to the workshop, we were met with hundreds of people in attendance, many of whom were standing. As expected, Range Resources pulled out all the stops. The walls and doorways were lined with men who were clearly workers, and who didn’t make public comments when the resident and non-resident call was made. Range’s Vice President of Operations was in attendance and made public comment citing how “responsive” Range is to residents, though residents of the Windsor Woods community fought back on that claim thoroughly in follow-up comments. 

Despite the high pressure of giving public comment, residents overcame their greatest fears of intimidation tactics and public speaking in taking the podium in favor of a stronger, more protective ordinance at a rate of 23 to 9. 

Going forward, residents should encourage their Board of Supervisors to move fairly quickly in making changes to the ordinance, as any new permits submitted will be under the current ordinance. Given Range’s strong presence at the workshop, we can expect that they will take advantage of the short time they may have in development under the existing ordinance. 

For more information about our recommendations for changes, or to follow our research regarding the ABB property, visit the links below: 

CCJ Recommendations and Breakdown of Current Cecil Oil and Gas Ordinance

A Breakdown of Available ABB Property Documents 

A Fact Sheet on the Cecil Township ABB Property Agreement

What to Ask Your Local Officials When a Well Pad is too Close for Comfort

To learn more or to get involved, contact Heaven Sensky at heaven@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org or 724-229-3550 ext. 103. 


  • Heaven Sensky

    Heaven Lee Sensky (she/her) is the Organizing Director with the Center for Coalfield Justice. She primarily serves Washington and Greene Counties on issues of Oil and Gas development and provides support for our organizing team. Heaven has been with CCJ for 4 years, working on a variety of campaigns serving impacted community members including advocacy around the prevalence of rare childhood cancers, the impacts of waste generated and disposed of by the oil and gas industry, and advocating for harm reduction in relation to the opioid epidemic. CCJ is organizing frontline residents through grassroots efforts to advocate for healthy communities with thriving economies. Heaven was born and raised on a small farm in Washington County where her family has resided for 5 generations. She is a first-generation college student and a graduate of American University (Washington, D.C.) with a bachelor’s degree in Communications, Law Studies, Economics, and Government. Before joining team CCJ, Heaven interned in the United States Senate and for the office of Barack and Michelle Obama. She lives with her husband Casey and her dog Olive on her family farm. Contact Heaven at heaven@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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