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City of DuBois opposes seismic testing
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
By Ian Erickson Staff Writer
DUBOIS - At last night's DuBois City Council meeting, council members voted against doing seismic testing on the DuBois Watershed.
Councilman Randy Schmidt motioned that the testing not be allowed on any city owned property in the watershed.
Jim Aughenbaugh, council member, seconded and said, "Our number one asset in this city is the water, and that's what we need to protect, and we will continue to do so."
Last Tuesday, a presentation was held at DuBois Area Middle School for residents to voice concerns and for more information to be presented by Seitel Data on seismic testing.
Seitel Data field representative Jonathan Mast said, "I just wanted to thank everybody for their time, considerations. Actually I'm a little disappointed, but it is what it is, and again thank you to everybody for questions during the presentation."
Residents in attendance expressed their approval of council's decision.
"Thank you for the vote," said Timothy Roschae of S. Main St. "I think the reasons expressed by Mr. Aughenbaugh were very good. They were the ones that I think should be considered. You ought to be commended."
Sam Miles of the DuBois Watershed Committee said, "I just want to stand here and commend everybody, including our city manager and solicitor for all of the hard work they have done over the years." He said that this is fine for the city property, but he is concerned about the other 76 percent of the watershed. Miles added that he would like council to discuss forming a committee with Huston, Pine and Union townships and EQT Corp. (natural gas company drilling in that area) to help protect the rest of it.
Council members also expressed their feelings about the decision.
"I am so relieved, and I think that tonight I'm going to have a good night's sleep," said Diane Bernardo. "Thank you so very much for your vote this evening to stop seismic testing. And as already pointed out, we have a lot to do to protect our watershed." She added that she has heard about more permits being issued recently.
Aughenbaugh said, "We need to work and operate as a team all of the time, communicate with each other and things like that. Because that's what really makes things work, and this council has done a lot of good things over the last few years. I'm proud to be part of it, and look forward to continuing that."
Councilman Eddie Walsh said he didn't like how misinformation was let out before there could be a presentation of factual information.
Walsh noted that people were "saying we were going to railroad it through." He continued, "We were never going to railroad anything through."
Walsh also said that members of the city's committees were handing information to people who were planning projects at the watershed.
Relating to Walsh's comments, Solicitor Toni Cherry, said, "I'm deeply concerned about the fact that we may have committee members out there or commission members who do not understand that you create them (committee/commission) with advisory powers only."
Cherry continued, "If we all truly want to protect this watershed, there can be only one body that makes determinations, and the other bodies are only advisory. Period."
Also pertaining to the watershed, council heard from Kellie Williams, watershed technician for the Clearfield County Conservation District, who said she thinks she can help the city with source water protection. Williams noted that she spoke to council a few years ago, and would like to continue. She added that she was attending the meeting to offer her services.
Schmidt asked Williams if she would be willing to work with Jim Casselberry, the city's geologist. Williams said she would have no problem with working together.
City Manager John "Herm" Suplizio said that according to Casselberry, Interstate 80 is a "huge disaster" for the watershed. This is due to accidents, etc.
Suplizio also responded to Walsh's comments about people commenting without having proper information.
"When you sit up here you become the dart board, and everybody has the darts, and that is not fair," said Suplizio.
In other business:
• a moment of silence was held for Joshua Martino, who died March 18 during a military training mission in Nevada. Council also commended him on his service.
• council proclaimed the month of April as Autism Awareness Month, and May 6-12 as National Nurses Week.
• Suplizio told residents to keep their properties cleaned up. He noted seeing couches in yards as an example.
DuBois City Council's next meeting is scheduled for April 8 at 7 p.m. A work session is slated for April 4 at 4 p.m.
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