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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

“This isn’t just about the Geyer’s site — it’s about anybody that wants to develop, and the state government needs to realize that they need to stop putting children in harm’s way in order to continue to develop shale.”

“We’re happy that [Rex has] been able to suspend operations and we can continue the conversation to try and protect the children,” Amy Nassif, who heads the Mars Parent Group, told ThinkProgress on Monday.
"A company’s plan to frack for natural gas about a half mile from a Pennsylvania school district of 3,200 kids has been suspended, just weeks after a group of concerned parents and environmentalists launched a legal challenge against the project. Rex Energy announced last week that it would stop preparing to drill on the farm of Bob and Kim Geyer in Middlesex, Pennsylvania — a property located about 3,000 feet from the Mars School District. The reason, Rex told the Butler Eagle, was a lawsuit brought in October by local families and environmental groups Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Clean Air Council.

The lawsuit commenced last month argued that the Middlesex Township Board of Supervisors violated Pennsylvania’s state Constitution when it voted to change the township’s zoning law back in August. Those changes legally opened up most of the rural town of Middlesex for fracking, even on residential lands. The zoning law change has wide implications for drilling and fracking in Middlesex, but the main reason for the change was to pave the way for the proposed gas wells near the school. The Geyer well site would be placed on farmland owned by Middlesex residents Bob and Kim Geyer, and operated by a company called Rex Energy. The wells would be about 3,000 feet from all of the school district’s buildings, a youth homeless center, and just 800 feet from a residential community where many of the schoolkids live.

Kim Geyer, whose property would house the Rex Energy wells, told ThinkProgress in August that the ordinance was important for the project, and said she was not concerned that it would affect the health and safety of the children in the Mars school district."

In her rush to profit at the potential expense of others, Mrs. Geyer is conveniently forgetting the spills, the methane flares, the explosions, and the fact that much of the so-called "regulation" is self-regulation by this secretive, propped-up industry. We only know a fraction of the bad news related to fracking and drilling, Mrs. Geyer, thanks to the Halliburton Loophole (a 2005 gift to industry from DickCheney) and the disastrous term of Tom Corbett. Our weakened DEP is a spineless opponent to moneyed interests bent on sucking PA dry before turning off the lights and heading home with their profits. 

Three cheers for the Mars Parent Group, well done... . Take note parents in Ligonier: the industry is eying this rural area, as well, and don't think they aren't.