Cumberland Times-News

October 17, 2013

Garrett County Marcellus shale advisory committee reinstated

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— OAKLAND — A majority of the members who were on Garrett County’s Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Advisory Committee were reappointed to the committee during a county commissioners meeting Tuesday.

In February, the commission decided to discontinue meetings of the committee until the state completed the best practices management report. The intention of bringing the committee back together was to make it more citizen-based, according to Jim Raley, commissioner.

“We thought it was best to start the committee and use the same approach that we used with the Watershed Steering Committee trying to get the citizens involved,” said commission chairman Robert Gatto.  

There were 21 applicants for the committee and the commission narrowed it down to 11. John Quilty was named chairman. Additional members include Marshall Stacy,  James “Smokey” Stanton, Nicole Christian, Shawn Bender, Dawn Beitzel, Paul Shogren, Kevin Dodge, Joyce Bishoff, Eric Robison and Nadine Grabania.

“It shows that it is a very important issue here in Garrett County when 21 people express an interest in participating,” said Raley.

Members will meet Nov. 5 to discuss the charges of the committee and how often meetings will occur.

Raley, who serves on the state Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, noted that he wants the citizens on the local committee to voice their opinions on how they feel about shale gas. He said that it was impossible to pick someone who has a neutral position on Marcellus shale drilling.

“We pretty much know that we all want it done right, that we all want it done safely and some of us don’t want it done at all,” said Raley. “The citizen-based committee has some real merit because what it does is it gives a broad range of citizens with varying viewpoints from various sectors of the county the ability to chime in and at least look at the research that is out there now.”

Commissioner Gregan Crawford said that the committee has a big task ahead of it.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the commission appointed six members to the Airport Advisory Commission. Everyone who applied has some background in aviation and all who applied were selected, according to Gatto. The members include Robert Browning, Jason Snyder, Andrew Kalnoske, DeCorsey Bolden, John Hermann, Cynthia Sharon, department of economic development staff and Gatto.

“It’s a good committee; it’s going to be under the direction of Ed Kelley, our Garrett County Airport manager,” said Gatto. “It’s going to look at the purpose of the airport and the master plan moving forward.”

Four people submitted their names to serve the remaining term of Donald Forrester, who retired from the board of education effective Sept. 30: Sadie Liller, Matthew Paugh, Charles Wilt and Joseph DeMucci.

The commissioners will conduct interviews Oct. 21 and the appointment will be announced during the Nov. 5 commission meeting so that the appointee can attend the Nov. 12 board meeting. Gatto stressed the importance of attending the board meeting because of the facilities study and funding issues that the board is facing.

Also during the meeting, Ernie Gregg received the 2013 Tri-County Council Chairman’s Award. Gregg was both a county commissioner and served on the board of directors for the TCC for 24 years. He also served on the TCC Revolving Loan Fund Committee for 17 years.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.