State Rep. Mike Sturla

Chairman, Democratic Policy Committee







Democratic Policy Committee considers landowner rights and environmental issues in the Marcellus Shale region


WILLIAMSPORT, Oct. 27 –  The House Democratic Policy Committee heard from several testifiers at a public hearing in Williamsport today regarding the impact gas drilling is having on landowner rights and the environment in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region. 


State Reps. Rick Mirabito, D-Lycoming, and Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, served as its co-chairmen.


“The debate surrounding Marcellus Shale is about more than whether we should charge fees to support our environment and maintain our infrastructure. It also is about the landowners who lease their land and the landowners who are their neighbors – all are affected,” Mirabito said. “There are so many underlying concerns about Marcellus Shale. We need the public’s input on all of them.”


“Owning a home and property is the American dream,” added Longietti. “The legislature must be proactive in protecting the rights of landowners who are impacted by Pennsylvania’s rapidly expanding natural gas industry. The first step is to make sure that citizens have good information about their rights as landowners and we hope to be a resource for that information.”


Those testifying at the hearing included Sonya Barclay, landowner, Cogan Station; Sarah Battisti, director of government and public affairs, EXCO Resources Inc.; Emily Krafjack, community outreach coordinator, Wyoming County; William desRosiers, field director, Energy in Depth; Ted Stroter, retired chemist and environmental safety engineer; Dr. Jonathan Williamson, chairman of the Department of Political Science at Lycoming College and director of the Center for the Study of Community and the Economy; and Dr. Bonita Kolb, associate professor of business at Lycoming College and co-director of CSCE.


For more information about the Policy Committee and hearing materials, visit