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Drilling Conversation Brought By Environmental Programs & ALLARM

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Posted on Wednesday, October 7, 2015

On Wednesday, October 21, Westminster College's Environmental Programs and Lawrence and Mercer County ALLARM, will host a panel discussion at the McKelvey Campus Center at 7 p.m.  Doors open at 6:30pm for light refreshments and the event is free and open to the public.

The panel, which include Dave Ball, Brian Cappola and Andy Schrader, who are township supervisors involved in the Act 13 Robinson case, making people of townships, municipalities and boroughs in aware that nonconventional gas drilling is a possibility.  

Ball is a retired CEO and has been active in politics for many years. He has been a Peters Township Councilman for eleven years and is currently Council Chairman. He is one of the individual plaintiffs in the landmark Robinson vs. Commonwealth lawsuit challenging the state’s Oil and Gas Act. Peters Township is a mostly developed Township and the site of current interest in drilling. He is a frequent writer speaker and presenter on gas drilling issues.

Cappola is a former Township Supervisor and Board Chairman in Robinson Township, PA. He is a business owner with 34 years of experience. Brian is one of the individual plaintiffs in the landmark Robinson vs. Commonwealth lawsuit. Robinson Township is a rural community and is the site of many gas wells and impoundment ponds. He is a frequent speaker on gas drilling issues.

Schrader is a retired ironworker and has been active in local politics for many years. For the past five years he has been a Township Supervisor in Cecil Township, PA and is the current board Chairman. Cecil Township is a mixture of developed and rural land and is the home of a major business park and has several gas wells and impoundment sites.

The December 19, 2013 Supreme Court decision affirmed that "nonconventional gas drilling is an industrial process and that compatible uses should be kept in compatible zones, making zoning an important tool to protect the health, safety and well-being of area residents."

On December 19, 2013 in the Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held unconstitutional major parts of Pennsylvania’s “Act 13”—a 2012 oil and gas law designed to facilitate the development of natural gas from Marcellus Shale. According to Widener Environmental Law Center, in doing so, the Court breathed new life into Article I, Section 27 of Pennsylvania’s constitution, which requires the state to “conserve and maintain” public resources “for the benefit of all the people.” The implications of this decision will be felt for years, perhaps decades. 

Article 1 Section 27 PA Constitution: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come.  As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”

For more information about this program, contact Dr. Helen Boylan, chemistry professor and director of the environmental program, at

*Photograph provided by Suzanne Bobosky.