West Deer neighbors fight to keep gas wells far from homes

WEST DEER TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Many neighbors in West Deer are fighting to keep a gas well from being built near their homes. They spoke out during a township meeting Wednesday night.

Community members wanted the board of supervisors to hold off on taking a vote on a proposed ordinance for gas wells and that’s exactly what happened.

Mary Kalivoda is one of dozens of West Deer families who don’t want a gas well in their neighborhood.

“If they put a well over there it would create vibration, noise, an incredible amount of traffic, especially truck traffic,” Kalivoda said. “Gas wells give off fumes.”

Well pads could be built near her home on Crystal Spring Court and many other communities.

Kalivoda said many of the families aren’t against fracking, they just don’t want it in their backyards.

“It doesn’t belong in a residential zoning district,” she said.

Kalivoda isn’t alone.

More than a dozen neighbors sounded off during a packed township meeting Wednesday night, asking supervisors to not vote on a new draft that would change the ordinance for oil and gas wells.

“Please do not vote on this flawed ordinance tonight,” one woman said.

Many worry about how fumes from drilling would impact their health and threaten their drinking water.

“I believe I have a right to clean water and air,” said another woman.

Many argue the revised draft weakens the wording that would keep people safe. They want the well sites to be set back further from homes from 750 feet to at least 1,250 feet.

“What’s the township get? How much money? How many jobs? What’s expected? It’s something I haven’t heard,” one of the neighbors said addressing the supervisors.

At least two community members spoke out in favor of drilling.

“Some are afraid to come forward, but I’m not,” a man said. “If I can gain some advantage into paying the high taxes we have in the township then I think that’s a great thing.”

The next meeting to discuss the matter will be on June 19 at the municipal building.

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