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Article published January 31, 2013
County urged to help
David Kerr Lancaster Township Butler County Democratic committeeman
On Jan. 23, a small group of people who live in the Woodlands area of Connoquenessing Township, along with some supporters, ventured before the Butler County commissioners to ask for assistance in resolving the water difficulties that the Woodlands residents have been experiencing for two years. In residents’ descriptions of their water, the most fetching characteristic described was “purple foam.” I never had heard of purple foam, but other characteristics were more recognizable: combustible water, foul odors and rashes occurring after bathing in the water. One of the speakers asked the commissioners to use the power of their office to remedy the situation. The commissioners must do something. They should get in touch with Congressman Mike Kelly and Pennsylvania’s two U.S. senators and explain that there is an ongoing problem in the Woodlands that no one has been able to solve. We no longer can accept “no” for an answer from anybody. The situation in the Woodlands has gone on for too long. The solution has three parts: We need adequate supplies of water. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has warehouses full of water. We need a truckload of water, and that truckload needs to be replenished when needed. We need to install a pipe or whatever the engineers decide on for a permanent solution. We need to fully investigate Rex Energy and determine its culpability. If Rex is found to be responsible — and I believe that it is — the company should be shut down and required to pay for everything. I wish to remind residents of the Woodlands that Connoquenessing Township offices will be on the election ballots this year. My advice to those residents is to run a slate of candidates and use the campaign as an amplifier for residents’ plight. Residents will find that they have more support than they realize. We at the Butler County Democratic Committee would welcome the opportunity to walk residents through the paperwork. Petitions become available in February and need to be turned in in March. The primary election is in May, and the general election is in November. This can be done and needs to be done. We need to elect people to all levels of government who are willing to challenge the gas industry. Until we have seats at the table, the gas industry will continue to do as it pleases. For two years, Butler County Democrats have been in favor of a moratorium on drilling.