This is Ligonier's friendly neighborhood blog and an attempt to recapture our lively opinionated debates in a free speech zone.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Battle stations...

"CHURCHILL, Pa. —"Not in my backyard” is the sentiment residents of Churchill and nearby towns and boroughs are adopting. Natural gas producer EQT is making its way around the area, chatting with landowners about leasing their land for drilling. The company has not filed any permits to drill yet, but is exploring the idea. It took just a few days to organize, but more than 150 people showed up to a meeting Sunday to show their position against fracking. “They have invested now in coming here," an attendee said. "So now we are at the junction where we have to do something radical." “We wanted to feel the passion about what it is that's so important to our community; which is clean air, clean water, a safe place to live, property values that don't go down,” said Elizabeth Czekanski, who organized Sunday night’s meeting.

One of the areas already leased to EQT for drilling is the old Churchill Valley Country Club. Others in Churchill say EQT has approached them too. Community members, including the borough's council president, said Churchill isn't the place. “My opinion, my personal opinion, Churchill is not a place that should ever have fracking,”** Jay Dworin said. Those who attended the meeting are encouraged to tell neighbors not to sign leases and attend public meetings where the issue will be discussed. The first opportunity is a council meeting Monday night.

It's early in the process, but borough leaders say it's not as simple as a blanket ban on fracking. For legal reasons, leaders say the borough must take it step-by-step. “It is going to be a battle, and so we need to stay together and (show that there is) strength in numbers,” Czekanski said."

** No place is "the place for fracking", Mr. Council President.

Tonight's Churchill council meeting should be interesting. Reminds me of what went on here in Ligonier...where we have much less enlightened supervisors, bought out by greed and disregard for all forms of life.