By Mary Grzebieniak
New Castle News
A hearing has been set on a request to force local landowners to allow gas and oil drilling.
Hilcorp Corp., a Texas firm with multiple well pads in the area, is asking for the so-called “forced pooling.”
It has invoked a 1961 law to force holdouts to negotiate a price and sign a lease. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, this is the first attempt in 30 years to use the law this way.
The hearing has been set to begin at 10 a.m. March 25 and continue at 8 a.m. March 26 in the Penn State Extension Conference Room at the Lawrence County courthouse. It will be open to the public.
The administrative hearing, similar to a trial, will be presided over by attorney Michael Bangs of Cumberland County.
Bangs was selected and assigned by the Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel, according to Morgan Wagner, DEP press secretary.
Within 45 days of the hearing, Bangs will issue a recommended decision to Christopher Abruzzo, who is DEP’s acting secretary. Abruzzo will make the final decision.
Hilcorp is asking that the DEP issue a well drilling and spacing unit order that establishes four gas well drilling units on 3,267