- Grove City, Pennsylvania

September 25, 2013

School board weighs drilling

By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
Allied News

PROSPECT — Slippery Rock school board members are keeping the students in mind as they consider information about part of a potential drill site that might end up on the edge of district property.

"Our job is the safety of the children," board member Diana Wolak said at Monday's board meeting, which was held at Moraine Elementary in Prospect.

The board heard from Roger Leight, a landman with Folse Land Services, Fort Worth, Texas, which represents XTO Energy, the gas and oil company that is developing drilling units in Butler County and the surrounding areas.

XTO has plans in the works for a proposed drill site on Route 528 East, and part of it would extend to the area of Moraine Elementary, covering about 1.33 acres on property owned by the district that borders a field, Leight said.

Leight and XTO still need to talk with the district's solicitor about putting together a lease for the board's review and approval, and XTO is still securing leases for drilling rights with other property owners for the same, large site, he said.

The district's lease would include a "no surface drill" clause, which means the surface of the school property won't be touched.

Also, XTO will test the school's water supply before and after drilling and if the water is compromised, XTO will provide drinking water, Leight said.

Employees working on the drill site won't be allowed on school property, he said, adding there are still a lot of unknowns, like how much gas will be extracted if it's feasible for XTO to drill, whether the drilling would come underneath school property and how much the district could benefit financially.

"We're not gonna make the school district rich," he said, noting a small supplement could be expected if XTO is able to drill.

Wolak questioned whether traffic will increase, especially around the school.

There's always more truck traffic when it comes to drilling, especially the vehicles hauling water, Leight said.

"You're gonna see it no matter what," he said.

He assured the board he could try to work something out with XTO to avoid conflicts during school hours, mainly when the buses are out and about.

"It's a monumental task," he said.

Depending on the permitting process, XTO could break ground on this particular drill site anytime between this fall or spring.

"There are so many factors that come into play," Leight said.

Published Sept. 11, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.