Press Release: Cecil Township to Hold Public Hearing on Oil and Gas Ordinance Amendments Tonight

Posted Jun 5, 2024, by Lisa DePaoli

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Media Contacts: Lisa DePaoli, 412-229-7116, lisa@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org
Arielle Cohen, 516-983-5440, arielle@acohen.llc

Cecil Township to Hold Public Hearing on Oil and Gas Ordinance Amendments Tonight


Area residents and homeowners gather for the urgent need for Greater Setbacks in Cecil Township


CECIL TOWNSHIP, PA – Tonight, Cecil Township convened a public hearing at 6:00 PM to deliberate amendments to its Oil and Gas Ordinance. Community advocates and residents are rallying for increased setbacks beyond the proposed 1,000 feet, emphasizing the urgent need to enhance safety measures.

Jason Smith, a retired and disabled military officer residing nearby, articulated his apprehensions ahead of tonight’s session. Smith, who spoke at the first hearing, underscored the detrimental effects the proposed drilling could inflict on his property and health. “If approved within 1,000 feet of a protected structure, my life’s work (our home) would be seriously affected in a negative way,” Smith expressed. Highlighting his lung issues and PTSD, he emphasized, “None of this seems fair to me. I gave up a lot to defend our way of life just to have my own countrymen try to ruin my home for greed.”

Sarah Martik, a resident of Cecil Township and Executive Director of the Center for Coalfield Justice (CCJ), extended her unwavering support to Smith and other neighbors impacted by the proposed ordinance. “We will be out there advocating for our community tonight – 1,000 feet is not enough. It ignores residents’ experiences living next to fracking in favor of the industry that has caused all of these problems in the first place,” Martik asserted.

Range Resources and Shell have brought in their own industry-paid experts and are anticipated to reflect the industry’s ongoing effort to downplay health risks and evade accountability.

This marks the third hearing this year dedicated to the ordinance amendments. Notable revisions include adjustments to the overlay map. In May 2024, numerous residents participated in a Cecil Township Board of Supervisors hearing, advocating for increased zoning setbacks for new well pads. Members and staff of CCJ joined a coalition of residents and local businesses to support sensible increases in setbacks and monitoring, aiming to safeguard community well-being. CCJ will be present at tonight’s hearing and has been encouraging and organizing residents to express their concerns. Public engagement is crucial to ensure the township prioritizes the community’s health and well-being in its decision-making process.

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  • Lisa DePaoli

    Lisa (Coffield) DePaoli joined the CCJ staff in 2018 and is now our Communications Director. She grew up in rural Washington County, has family in both Washington and Greene Counties, and has always loved animals and spending time outdoors. A first-generation and nontraditional college student, her deep interest in human beings and ecology led her to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. She has worked on research projects and taught at the university level in the U.S. and in field schools in Latin America. The knowledge and experience she gained increased her concern for environmental and social justice issues, which she believes are best addressed at the local level, or from the "bottom up," including the voices of those who are most impacted. Lisa works to understand issues from the local to the global, seeks to make a positive difference, and loves to talk to people about what interests or concerns them. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, furkids, and friends, and walking in the woods with her dogs. Contact Lisa at lisa@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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