DEP Tentatively Sets May 18 Online Public Conference On Proposed Roulette Oil & Gas Waste Injection Well In Clara Twp., Potter County; Opponents Again Call For Robust Public Participation Process
On April 27, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has tentatively scheduled an online “public conference” May 18 on the proposed Roulette Oil & Gas waste injection well in Clara Township, Potter County from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Barbara Hanes, DEP Oil and Gas Operations, asked opponents of the proposal to confirm their availability by the end of the day April 28 and to send questions or other items to be included on the agenda by May 10.
In the email, Hanes said a link will be made available to anyone who wants to attend, but it makes no mention of how many people will be allowed to speak.
Questions about the public conference should be sent to Hanes at: email@example.com.
On April 18, residents of Clara Township in Potter County and environmental advocates called on DEP to provide them with an opportunity for public engagement in consideration of the proposal. Read more here.
On April 28, Save Our Streams PA, and Karen Feridun, Better Path Coalition, responded to DEP’s April 27 email by saying–
“The Department describes the public participation process on its website. No mention is made of a conference as an alternative to providing the public an open, inclusive process for engagement.
“We have objected to the use of a conference in place of an appropriate process since it was first suggested by your office. Our objections only intensified when we were asked to submit questions in advance.
“Our position has not changed.
“Injection wells pose significant threats to communities in proximity of them. They are consequential projects that deserve a robust public participation process.
“A virtual conference is not a suitable substitute. Do not mistake our refusal to participate in one as acquiescence.”
The agency is currently reviewing an application submitted by Roulette Oil and Gas to convert the Clara 20 well, an active conventional gas well into a Class ll-D injection well in Clara Township.
Nearing the end of the process, a decision to approve or deny the request could be made soon, according to the DEP permitting geologist who is reviewing the application.
If approved, this Class ll-D injection well permit may be the first in the Commonwealth to be authorized in PA through a streamlined process with very limited public scrutiny.
Clara 20 is currently an active gas well with storage tanks nearby. The storage tanks, according to inspection reports, are not properly labeled. Trees are growing through the plastic liner of the containment surrounding the tanks.
Photos of the large trees are attached to Clara 20’s most recent DEP inspection report.
For more information on the application, visit the Save The Allegheny River website.
Visit DEP’s Underground Injection Control Wells webpage for more information on this program.
(Photos: Top- Trees growing through liner around storage tanks, wellhead – DEP inspection photos; Bottom- Clara well site – DEP inspection photo; unlicensed and uninspected truck used to haul drilling wastewater. This is where hundreds of thousands of gallons of drilling wastewater would be deposed of.) Read more…….