The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

August 3, 2013

Haluska: Measure may have ‘gotten lost in shuffle’

HARRISBURG — Language allowing natural gas companies to merge lease agreements was tacked into a bill that was primarily directed toward mandating greater transparency in the way gas companies deduct from payments to landowners. As a result, the measure passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate.

“The environmental community has been dealing with these kind of bait and switches for years. Now landowners are getting a taste of it,” said Jeff Schmidt, chapter director for the Pennsylvania Sierra Club.

“If the gas companies wanted to develop a single well site, they could do that by negotiating with property owners,” Schmidt said.

“But they decided to have the General Assembly take away the right of property owners to negotiate.”

Dale Tice, an attorney specializing in gas drill­ing issues, said he believes that many lawmakers simply didn’t understand what the controversial passage in Senate Bill 259 does.

State Rep. Gary Haluska, D-Patton, said Democrats have opposed “forced pooling.”

Opponents have argued that the law created a form of forced pooling, a tactic in which a property can be targeted for drilling regardless of the wishes of the owner if most neighboring properties allow drilling. Senate Bill 259 deals only with properties that already have leases in place for conventional drilling, so proponents have argued that the law stops short of allowing forced pooling in Pennsylvania.

But the concerns about the legislation may not have been abundantly clear to all lawmakers as the vote took place on the Friday of the final weekend of the budget year.

“It may have gotten lost in the shuffle,” Haluska said.

The bill passed 167-33 in the House. On June 30, the Senate voted 48-2 to concur on the House version of the bill..

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • 10 things to know for today

    Your look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 24, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 24, 2014

  • WilliamsA ‘I thought I was going to die’

    Hornerstown resident Robert “Bobby” Williams said he endured two hours of surgery, suffered a heart attack and fears he may never again be able to fully use his right arm.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • JFD traing Firefighters practice river rescues

    Johnstown Fire Department members lift a “victim” out of the rescue basket during training Wednesday along the Stonycreek River flood-control wall

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • sewer meeting map Sewer work will tie up traffic

    Brace yourselves.
    This summer’s sewer main replacement project will delay traffic with detours, closed streets and lane restrictions through one of Johnstown’s notoriously snarled neighborhoods.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • USS Somerset USS Somerset arrives at San Diego homeport

    The USS Somerset is home.
    The amphibious transport dock ship named in honor of the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 arrived at its new homeport of Naval Base San Diego on Monday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jablonski, Stephen Charges filed in courthouse bomb threat

    A Johnstown man was charged by Ebensburg Borough police Wednesday with threatening to blow up the Cambria County Courthouse, a call he admitted to Ebensburg police he made Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vizza, Peter Vizza voted deputy mayor

    The top vote-getter in last year’s Johnstown City Council election is now also the city’s deputy mayor.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Conemaugh Township rezoning opens business possibilities

    A portion of South Main Street in Davidsville will be rezoned to give greater allowances to the businesses along the road.

    April 23, 2014

  • Sculptor’s work to be raffled off

    The work of a local sculptor will be raffled off during the Art in Bloom show.

    April 23, 2014


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads