Photo by Gerri Miller
High water forces closing of some activities at Sinnemahoning State Park….PennDot is inviting input for this summer’s survey…..DEP orders three drilling companies to plug wells….Johnsonburg couple arrested for shoplifting at St. Marys Walmart…..Weedville driver cited for following too closely after rear-end collision Wednesday….
Wednesday’s high, 80; Overnight low, 65; .30” rain
THU-AFTERNOON SHOWERS & THUNDERSTORMS, 77
THU NIGHT-CLEARING, LOW 62
FRI-SUNNY, HIGH 72
FRI NIGHT-CLEAR, LOW 55
SAT-PARTLY TO MOSTLY CLOUDY, HIGH 69
SAT NIGHT -MOSTLY CLOUDY, LOW 53
To hear today’s forecast, click on arrow below:
Sinnemahoning State Park has issued an advisory: Due to high water levels, the Lake Day Use Area of the George B. Stevenson Dam at Sinnemahoning State Park is closed until further notice. The Lake Day Use Area entrance is closed at Route 872, the mooring area is closed, and the lake is closed to all fishing and boating activities.
This temporary closure is weather-related; the Lake Day Use Area will reopen when water levels subside. Please check the park Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Sinnemahoning-State-Park-389160871130164 or call the park office for updates.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is seeking public input on highway topics such as traffic safety improvements and driving behaviors through its annual online highway safety survey accessible at www.penndot.gov.
Expanding upon previous versions, this year’s survey aims to help identify why drivers engage in safe or unsafe driving behaviors. The department will review the results for potential additions or adjustments to the department’s safety efforts.
It is available until August 17 and should take about five minutes to complete. All responses, including the “comments” fields, are completely anonymous.
Nearly 3,000 people responded to last year’s survey. Last year’s notable results included that, in the previous 60 days, 80 percent of respondents said they had not driven a motor vehicle within two hours after consuming alcoholic beverages. Also, 89 percent of drivers indicated they used a seat belt all or most of the time.
On survey questions related to motorcycles, nearly 63 percent of respondents reported that they themselves and their passengers always wear helmets or other protective gear, an increase from 53 percent in 2016.
Last year’s survey also asked about texting or emailing while driving. Almost 91 percent of those surveyed indicated that they never or rarely text message or check email while driving, a decrease from 95 percent in 2016.
Follow PennDOT on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews, Instagram at www.instagram.com/pennsylvaniadot/, and Facebook at www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDepartmentofTransportation.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued administrative orders requiring three oil and gas companies—Alliance Petroleum Corporation (Alliance), XTO Energy Inc. (XTO), and CNX Gas Company LLC (CNX)—to plug 1,058 abandoned oil and gas wells across Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act states that a well is abandoned if it “has not been used to produce, extract or inject any gas, petroleum or other liquid within the preceding 12 months.” Alliance, XTO, and CNX self-reported wells that did not produce oil or gas during the 2017 calendar year. Copies of each of the orders and a listing of the wells is linked below:
Alliance (a wholly owned subsidiary of Diversified Gas and Oil) – 638 abandoned wells
CNX – 327 abandoned wells
XTO – 93 abandoned wells
The Oil and Gas Act requires owners and operators to plug wells upon abandonment. Companies must also provide schedules to DEP that prioritize plugging activities for wells that pose the greatest environmental or public health and safety risk. Each company has failed to plug its self-reported abandoned wells and has not provided a schedule to DEP for doing so.
The orders include deadlines by which each company must plug their abandoned wells. The order also directs each company to provide copies of well inspection records, document the plugging activities, and remediate each well site according to state regulations.
An amendment to the 2012 Pennsylvania Fiscal Code set bonding amounts for conventional oil and gas wells at $2,500 per well or a blanket bond of $25,000 for all wells owned by an operator. Costs can vary greatly depending on the well conditions, but generally run between $10,000 and $100,000 per well.
DEP estimates that hundreds of thousands of oil and gas wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania since 1859, much of this activity predating applicable regulations or the existence of DEP or its predecessor agencies. While it is not known how many orphaned and abandoned wells exist, estimates range from 100,000 to 560,000 wells. DEP works with communities and nonprofits to identify and map these wells.
DEP has plugged 3,066 wells from 1989-2017 and provides incentives for nongovernment entities to expedite well plugging.
Two Johnsonburg residents have been arrested for shoplifting at the St.Marys Walmart. State police at Ridgway allege 33 year old Joseph Gerg and 28 year old Antolena Kiel switched a price tag on an item while in the store just after noon on June 30. Total loss for the store was $149.56.
No one was hurt Wednesday afternoon in a rear-end collision on Marvin Street in Jones Township Elk County. According to state police 20year old Mariah Mosier of Weedville was following Jessica Buerk of Wilcox too closely while both were headed north. When Buerk stopped to make a left turn onto Old Kane Road, Mosier’s Chevrolet Silverado ran into the back of Buerk’s Pontiac G6. Only minor damage was reported for the pick-up but the car had to be towed from the scene. Mosier was cited for following too closely.