Monday, December 5, 2016

West Penn Supervisors vote 2-1 to agree to take no action against Jay Land's water extraction operation - while safety issues and public property damage continue

On November 15, 2016, the West Penn BOS met in an executive session to discuss Jay Land's Ringgold Acquisition Group's water extraction operation on Fort Franklin Road.

After this lengthy meeting which included the township zoning officer, it was reported that:

  • Mr. Land would be asked to submit a "sketch plan" documenting the permits he intended to obtain
  • A DEP representative would be asked to attend tonight's BOS meeting, and provide a written response to the township's "request for action"
  • The zoning officer has been in touch with State Representative Argall
  • Supervisor Bogosh stated that he doesn't "think a land development plan is needed"
  • Chairman Dean stated the question is, is this business compliant with the zoning ordinance
  • Chairman Dean would like someone else to step up to the plate (emphasis added, eg DEP)
  • Supervisor Prudenti believes the "action" has no teeth and a cease and desist order should be filed.
Two out of three of supervisors are clueless and useless.  Prudenti is the only one acting responsibly.  First of all, the question for Mr. Dean is, is the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of West Penn Township being protected.  The answer is clearly "no".  In a November 7, 2016 Times News article, it was documented that a resident's water had become unsafe and unusable following the inception of daily water extraction at Fort Franklin.  Chairman Dean was quoted as saying "it is appalling," but then he said "we can't say it is from water extraction" and "we defer to government agencies that oversee water extraction."

Here's the problem  Supervisor Dean left a message on a resident's voice mail several months ago, saying that the zoning officer was "drafting a cease and desist order."  The zoning officer issued a notice of violation in 2015 due to Land's company not filing a Land Development Plan, via certified mail. Water tankers believed to have left the Fort Franklin site in October and November 2016 have damaged public property on multiple occasions.  West Penn Township conducted an engineering study of its roads in 2015, which determined that the road tankers are using to leave the site, Blue Mountain Drive, should be posted with a 15-ton limit.  Tankers of a 48+ ton capacity have been observed leaving the site, and these tankers require a PA DOT and West Penn permit that is site specific to do this.  It is believed they do not have these permits.

So let's see, Mr. Chairman.  You would like "someone else" to step up to the plate, even though your roads are being abused, your guardrails destroyed, motorists have been placed in harm's way, and the required land development plan never submitted.  And vehicles believed to not be permitted using your roads.  Those all fall into your lap.  This time last year, Mr. Dean, your Board held a public hearing to discuss a road weight limit and bonding oridinace.  The solicitor told the public that new land development plans would require a road impact study.  This sounds great, but it is all talk and no action.  What happened to that ordinance, Mr. Dean?  Why is Mr. Bogosh now saying a land development plan isn't needed, and what comment does the zoning officer have about it?  The same one that issued a notice of violation for not filing the same?  This is horse shit.

Here's a newsflash, Mr. Dean.  The DEP has been ignored by Mr. Land's companies for years.  Go to this link at the Environmental Hearing Board to see the evidence.  He told the DEP he would be supplying spring water from the Pine Valley (Kepners) site, and he would treat it with an "ozinator".  DEP filed multiple violation notices, and the ozinator sits in the parking lot unused.  You have to treat water if you are selling it to be bottled as spring water.  They filed a complaint he was not maintaining the required bypass water volume in a creek, and he responded by saying he shouldn't have to.  The DEP says he is supplying raw water, which only a bottler who owns the site can do.  But he isn't a bottler.  So now he's in court, arguing he doesn't need to comply with all these regulations.  He wants to write his own regulations.  See, he wants to sell that raw water so he doesn't need to file reports of the quality of the water.  Here's another factoid - if he ozinates the water, it turns bromide to bromate - which causes cancer.  The more bromide your water has, the more likely this will happen.  The DEP has been "trying" to regulate him for years.  Since 2007 at various sites.  And it hasn't worked.  It should be noted that Mr. Land was in law school with Katie McGinty, Secretary of the DEP from 2003 to 2008. What the hell is the DEP going to do to regulate the new site on Fort Franklin Road???  How hard have they really been trying to regulate him?  Have they?

By the way, if you read between the lines, you can see Mr. Land's intent is to abandon the Pine Valley (Kepners) site and shift his entire operation to Fort Franklin Road.  The landowner at Pine Valley and he are at odds, and in fact the landowner filed a complaint with the DEP against his operation because he is drying up the surface water.  The lease expires within a few years.  Recently, the land owner even cross filed a complaint against Land in the civil lawsuit by residents of WPT.  Supervisors, get this straight - Mr. Land is rumored to be planning to run up to 100 (one hundred) trucks a day out of Fort Franklin, each way.  The problem of Mr. Land's company only shipping water from WPT is turning into Mr. Land's company sucking your resident's water source dry AND beating the hell out of your roads AND making them unsafe.  Talk about fiddling while Rome burns - West Penn supervisors have this down to a science.

Mr. Dean and Mr. Bogosh should wake up out of whatever state of euphoric crapulence they are in.  Are they playing politics?  If so, it's a dangerous game.  They were put on notice at least as far back as May 2015 that tankers can't leave Blue Mountain Drive for Route 309 without creating a hazardous situation.  In November 2015, resident Judy Russo reported she saw a tanker departing Blue Mountain Drive cross over into oncoming traffic on Route 309 in a dangerous maneuver.  Video this past month shows a high speed accident almost occurred when a loaded tanker blocked the entire 4 lanes of Route 309, turning to go south.  As soon as the cab crossed back over the double line, vehicles in both northbound lanes sped past.  Still pictures show tankers have crossed totally over the double line on Blue Mountain Drive, sitting stopped waiting to pull out onto Route 309.  This could prove fatal to a vehicle on 309 in either direction wishing to turn onto Blue Moutain Drive, and finding their lane blocked.  It is important to remember these are 40 to 50 ton trucks.  They aren't going to be making any quick moves to get out of the way, stop or do anything else.

Residents of West Penn should take no solace whatsoever in believing "someone else" will "step up to the plate" to make one of Mr. Land's companies do the right thing.  And based on the total inaction of West Penn supervisors, it is apparent they plan to continue to say "we're doing everything we can" while doing nothing at all.

Question for Mr. Dean

When the fuck do you step up to the plate?  Where is your "sketch plan" of what you intend to do, besides nothing?  Municipalities issue cease and desist orders routinely.  You told a resident one was being drafted in July.  There is plenty of justification for one towards the goal of exactly what you told me - protect the health safety and welfare of your residents which is your "highest priority".  When is the next election?

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