On Sept. 15, the Butler Township Board of Commissioners likely will approve a well pad on the property of the Krendale Golf Course, zoned R-2, in a densely populated residential neighborhood.
In the event of a fire at said well pad, an evacuation within a one-mile radius would easily encompass hundreds of homes, as well as Moraine Pointe Plaza, much of Butler Commons, Benbrook Medical Center, the VA Hospital, Lowrie Place Nursing Home and Northwest Elementary School.
Explosions and blowouts at shale-gas facilities often result in evacuations of an even greater radius, usually two miles.
I hope that the Butler County Emergency Management Agency has an evacuation plan in place for the Krendale pad, as well as all the other well pads, processing plants and compressor stations in Butler County. I hope that EMA will share those plans with the public, so that residents know where to go in the case of a shale-gas emergency and what routes to take to get there.
And, I hope that EMA makes that information available to residents who might not have Internet access, such as my in-laws, who live less than a mile away from the proposed Krendale pad.
While the public’s general perception may be that such incidents are rare, Mercer County has experienced two well pad fires in less than a month.
Butler Township officials have acted recklessly and irresponsibly in creating an ordinance that permits drilling in residential neighborhoods. The least EMA can do is to give residents the reassurance that there is a safe place to go, and a safe way of getting there, in the event of a well pad emergency.