Municipal Regulation of Oil, Gas Seminar Slated for April 13

(GantDaily Graphic)

CLEARFIELD – Because of the county’s participation in Marcellus Shale development and its resultant strain on the communities within, the Clearfield County Commissioners announced Tuesday that a seminar on municipal regulation of oil and gas operations will be held from 7 to 9 p.m., April 13 at the Hiller Auditorium at Penn State DuBois.

“There’s a great deal of concern. We certainly encourage all municipal officials to attend,” Commissioner John A. Sobel said. The seminar will be presented by Ross H. Pifer, J.D., LL.M., director of the Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center at the Penn State Dickinson Law School.

The center is funded partly by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and also designed to provide educational programs, information and materials to any person who is involved or interested in agricultural law and policy.

According to Sobel, Pifer will cover Pennsylvania statutes, regulatory agencies, municipal regulations of oil and gas operations and current legislative issues. Pifer has spoken frequently on the regulatory aspects of “Shale Gas Development” throughout the state over the last several years, he said.

Sobel said the program is supported by the board of commissioners. Registration is $10 per person and will offset the direct program cost. Pre-registration by Friday, April 8 is requested to ensure that the appropriate quantities of materials are available at the seminar.

Anyone who plans to attend may register and pay online or by telephone at 877-489-1398. Anyone with specific questions that aren’t addressed by the registration Web site may call Chuck Allen at the Penn State Cooperative Extension Office in Clearfield County at 814-765-7878, ext. 1.

In other business, the commissioners:

– voted to approve a $2.5 million Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program (RCAP) grant for Helios Scientific LLC for its cellulosic biomass ethanol research project in Curwensville Borough.

The board had terminated its previous cooperation agreement with SWAN Biomass Inc. in November 2010 so that it could transfer the grant funding to the Helios project, according to Commissioner Chairperson Joan Robinson-McMillen.

The county received the RCAP grant through the state back in 2007, and it was originally to be used for a biomass conversion center in Lawrence Township. That project, however, didn’t pan out for SWAN, an Illinois-based company.

Robinson-McMillen said that Helios, a Pennsylvania-based science and technology firm and the sister company to Illinois-based Axion Analytical Laboratories Inc., launched its Curwensville ethanol project in October 2010. The county then submitted paperwork to the state for the grant to be transferred.

– tabled action on the six bids opened for the demolition of the former radio station building. The bids read as follows: $35,601 from Earthmovers Unlimited Inc. of Kylertown; $41,313 from Infinity Crane and Excavation of Ford City; $47,888 from Bucktail Excavators Inc. of St. Marys; $59,900 from Thacik Contracting of Curwensville; $68,800 from Mike Poerlo Contracting of Rimersburg; and $78,269 from Greenland Construction Inc. of Clearfield.  

– approved its contract agreement with Ben Timko of 765-DECK LLC for the Courthouse Annex renovations. Timko was the low bidder at $17,670.

Sobel said the agreement was satisfactory but sought two revisions. He said the county’s Conservation District will not be relocating to the former Election’s Office. Instead, it’ll be the Victim Witness and IT Departments housed there. He also wanted it to include a provision, which would permit both sides to mutually terminate the agreement.

– rescinded its previous lease agreement approved at the March 15 meeting between the county and the Clearfield County Economic Development Corp.

Robinson-McMillen reported errors were discovered in the wording, but the conditions remained the same. The commissioners then approved a revised lease agreement in the form presented at the work session.

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