In March 2014, Hilcorp Energy Company began a forced pooling initiative in Lawrence and Mercer Counties to seek claim to subsurface mineral rights located near the Onondaga Divide. According to the 1961 Oil and Gas Conservation Law, forced pooling is a requirement by state law to participate in oil/ gas production units. Under this law, wells located on the Onondaga divide offer oil operators and drillers to appeal for a forced pooling initiative. However, due to the geographic location of the Onondaga Divide, a geological formation between the Marcellus and Utica Shale formation, this law may soon be implemented in the respective region concerning the Utica Shale, which includes Pulaski and Shenago Townships.
Complaint made on premise of Hilcorp stripping citizens of their natural land rights for not cooperating with increase in development. Horizontal drilling is not decreasing the number of wells. Complaint issued against “semi-public,” hearings. Residents of respective communities find that complaint hearings are not effectively bringing public concerns to forefront of discussions. Residents feel DEP is not interested in hearing residential and community concerns related to fracking.
A preliminary meeting was held on March 25th and 26th to voice public concerns. A second round of hearings will be held in April.