Marcellus shale oil and gas operations are highly industrialized operations, in fact, David Schlosser, president of exploration and production at EQT has noted that the company’s use of super pads are “mini-industrial complexes”
EQT is proposing to introduce one of these “mini-industrial complex” into a Jefferson Hills neighborhood – a neighborhood that has a long history of being zoned residential
This proposed oil and gas operation would be located in close proximity to the new TJ high school
These industrial operations are not compatible with the character of residential neighborhoods
Operations as such have been known to cause dangerous risks
In addition to well pads, oil and gas operations require additional and sprawling industrialized infrastructure – meaning ever-expanding oil and gas operations
The PA Supreme Court has ruled on three oil and gas zoning cases and has repeatedly underscored the importance of local zoning as a means of ensuring compatibility within zoning districts
And, the PA Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) has a fundamental principle of entrusting local government officials with protecting public health, safety and welfare
So, should Jefferson Hills allow a massive change to our local neighborhoods?
As you prepare for the public hearing, here are some helpful tips in understanding what to expect during the proceedings and how you can participate. It is important to remember the following:
Always be respectful – never accuse anyone of anything negative or nefarious
Include passion about your concerns WITH facts in your prepared comments
Know that the hearing officer and the Council will not respond to any comments – this forum is a one-way conversation only
And, use the following tips to help research, prepare and frame your commentsWhat is a public hearing?
A public hearing is a formal proceeding held in order to receive testimony from all interested parties – including the general public – on a proposed issue or action.
Those interested in providing testimony will be sworn in – usually by a court stenographer – and be allowed to present oral comments.
Again, it is important to remember that no responses will be provided to oral comments/testimony. This is a one-way conversation, so members of the public interested in participating should know that those in charge of the hearing are not permitted to respond to any comments, questions or concerns expressed.
How you can participate in the hearing:
Always be courteous and respectful
Prepare your testimony, in writing, and be sure to include your name and contact information.
Keep your comments specific to only the permit under review – do not stray into other subjects.
Respect the time limits determined by the overseeing agency – typically the time for each person’s testimony is between three and five minutes.
Select the two or three main points you’d like to make and write a statement that fits the appropriate time limit.
Write your comments down and practice them so you are familiar with what you want to say.
Rule of thumb: one minute = 150 words.
Write your testimony and check the word count to be sure you’re within the prescribed limit.
Three minutes=450 words
Four minutes = 600 words
Take two copies with you to the hearing. Submit one copy to the person officiating the hearing.
What to include in your testimony: Tell your story:
What is it like living near the site that is the subject of the hearing?
Raise specific concerns about how your property, water sources, livestock, family and health might be affected. Raise specific questions about the proposed operations. Remember: no responses will be given to you during your testimony; however, questions raised during the proceedings could help the decision makers consider all the important facts as part of their deliberations.
Present any factual documents or articles you have – highlight just a few key sections in your oral testimony. Provide copies of the documents or articles you reference.
Provide photos, if you have them, documenting your concerns.