CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners intend on requesting that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conduct a public hearing Dec. 10 regarding the proposed disposal injection well in the Highland Street Extension area of Brady Township.
The EPA has developed a draft final Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit for Windfall Oil & Gas Inc. of Falls Creek. This permit is necessary for the construction and operation of one commercial Class II-D injection well to dispose of waste fluids that are associated with oil or gas production operations.
During the public comment session at Tuesday’s meeting, DuBois resident Marianne Atkinson said the EPA will be accepting public comments through Dec. 10 regarding the proposed disposal injection well. She said submitted comments must “state the nature of the issues” proposed to be raised, which must concern drinking water wells, groundwater, aquifers, springs and or streams.
Atkinson said the EPA must receive written requests to conduct the public hearing by Dec. 4, which must also “state the nature of the issues.” She said the EPA “expressly reserves the right to cancel the hearing unless a significant degree of public interest specific to this permitting action is evidenced” by the above date. She said a public hearing has been tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Brady Township Community Center, 71 Community St., Luthersburg, PA 15848.
According to the EPA, Windfall Oil & Gas submitted a UIC permit application April 11. After review and resolution of application deficiencies, the EPA has developed a draft final permit. Windfall Oil & Gas plans to use Zelman #1 as a commercial injection well to dispose of produced waste fluids, and injection would occur into the Huntersville Chert/Oriskany formation.
“If the final permit is issued, this could really open up the flood gates for more disposal injection wells across the state,” said Atkinson. “We’re hoping for a lot of comments so that we at least get to have a public hearing.”
She said they’d previously learned about two major faults that were located 1.2 miles and 2 miles away from the site of the proposed injection well. Since then, she said they have obtained maps that show additional faults within the quarter-mile review area. She said if these faults are triggered, it could result in earthquakes.
Commissioner Mark B. McCracken said the commissioners had attended an informational town meeting with the EPA back in July. He said to him, it appears the EPA is willing to listen to their concerns. In general, he said they need the public to get involved and submit comments via e-mail and regular mail.
When asked, Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen indicated the commissioners planned to attend the public hearing if held by the EPA. At that point, DuBois resident, Rick Atkinson asked if the county had someone available to review the permitting documents as submitted by Windfall Oil & Gas to the EPA. The commissioners recommended that they have either Clearfield County Planning Director Jodi Brennan or Brady Township Solicitor Blaise Ferraraccio review the permit application.
According to the EPA, the Windfall Oil & Gas permitting documents remain available for public inspection during the regular business hours at EPA Region III, Ground Water & Enforcement Branch, Office of Drinking Water and Source Water Protection. The EPA’s office is located at 1650 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19103.
All information submitted by Windfall Oil & Gas, unless deemed confidential, is available to the public in the administrative record, according to the EPA. The administrative record includes the permit application, the draft permit, statement of basis and all related correspondence.
The EPA stated that a copy of the permit application, draft permit and statement of basis for Windfall Oil & Gas is also available for inspection at the Dubois Public Library, 31 S. Brady St., DuBois, PA 15801.
Interested persons may obtain further information, including copies of the draft permit and statement of basis, by contacting Stephen Platt at the address listed above, by email address at email@example.com or by phone at 215-814-5464.
Also, for additional information, please visit: http://www.highlanddiw.com/.