ADAMS TWP — Rex Energy has offered the Mars School District a $1 million nonsurface gas lease, in which horizontal drilling would occur a mile beneath 172 acres of district land.
Rex Energy officials attended the Tuesday night school board meeting to make their pitch before the board and dozens of residents who oppose shale gas drilling.
Duane Maust, land manager of Rex Energy’s Appalachian region, gave a presentation that showed six wells would be placed on the Denny Road farm of former school board President Kimberly Geyer.
The wells will be about a mile from the district’s properties along Route 228.
Rex would pay the district $4,000 per acre, which totals about $690,000. A $331,396 advanced royalty payment also would be paid immediately.
Maust said both the Butler and Seneca Valley school districts have signed leases with Rex Energy, and the South Butler County School District has signed with XTO Energy.
About 75 parents, residents and members of three anti-shale gas groups attended the meeting. Many spoke out against shale gas drilling in general, and against school districts participating in an industry they feel is unsafe.
Superintendent Jim Budzilek assured the large crowd that the board members have studied shale gas drilling, and that they would not make any rash decisions.
“If the lease is accepted, we will make sure every safeguard is in place, and then some,” he said.
The board will vote on the lease on March 11.
Budzilek said the public can write or e-mail him or the school board until then with their comments. The board’s e-mail and the administration office’s address are both on the district’s website, www.marsk12.org.