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Neighbors in Washington Co. at odds over construction of large gas well pad

CECIL TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Neighbors are pitted against each other as construction began on a gas well pad in Cecil Township.

The families that moved into new homes never knew a well pad would be going in their backyards until they got a letter in their mailboxes. Now hundreds of people are affected, and the issue is creating a great divide in the town.

We wake up and hear the rumbling outside, the rattling in the windows. Everyday the trucks up and down the road," said Michelle Stonemark. “All I do is worry about the health and safety of our kids. Are my kids not going to be able to play outside?"

Just over 500 feet from her back door, construction started on a massive well pad.

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Fracking hasn’t even started, and Stonemark said her kids are already having trouble breathing what they described as a “chemical smell” outside.

The Augustine well pad, which is being built by Range Resources, also backs up to a brand new 200-home development off North Depaoli Road.

Cecil Township approved the development and the well pad, which is legally 500 feet from homes, but neighbors said they didn’t know what was going in their backyards until after they moved in.

Bruce Gazvoda, another resident, said he hopes his children and grandchildren benefit from a stronger local economy. He’s not concerned about their health.

“If you look around, everyone else is drilling around us. Why not get our little piece of the pie?” he said. “This money will have an impact on our roads, our police department, our fire department. It will be good for everyone.”

Range Resources said they’re committed to be accessible to neighbors and forthcoming with information while they responsibly develop the Augustine well site. Fracking could begin as early as spring 2020.


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