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Another Gas Drilling Site Near Ft. Cherry Schools Approved Despite Protests From Parents

MT. PLEASANT TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- Despite the pleas from a parent group concerned about air and water quality, the Mount Pleasant Township Board of Supervisors has approved a conditional use permit for Range Resources.

The permit will allow the company to develop another natural gas drilling site near the Fort Cherry School District campus.

A group of protestors, which included young students themselves, demonstrated prior to the meeting Wednesday night.

"Our school is a rural school that sits on one piece of property with all 13 grades in one campus," said Jane Worthington, of the Kids Go To Fort Cherry Schools group. "So, that's an entire generation being exposed to fracking and drilling on a multiple level."

"That air, which has been confirmed is full of toxins, is blowing into the school all the time," Kristy Kittleson, also of the Kids Go To Fort Cherry Schools group.

The board approved a plan to construct a third well site near the K-12 complex. This one will be about 3/4 of a mile from the buildings.

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Those who support responsible drilling showed up wearing yellow shirts that read "Land Owners United."

Range Resources says 95 percent of the land is leased in Mount Pleasant Township. About $500,000 has been paid to Fort Cherry Schools, which also has a lease.

In a statement from Range Resources, they say: "A well was safely drilled much closer to the school with no adverse issues whatsoever according to a peer-reviewed and published, independent study that was commissioned by the school that examined air emissions specifically found: 'did not show anything remarkable with respect to chemicals detected in the ambient air. When volatile compounds were detected, they were consistent with background levels measured at the school and in other areas in Washington County. Furthermore, a basic yet conservative screening level evaluation shows that the detected volatile compounds were below health-protective levels.'"

The parent group vows to continue it fight.

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