Trustees cool to proposed agreement from Chesapeake

YELLOW CREEK – The persuasive powers of a representative from Chesapeake Energy were resisted by Yellow Creek Township trustees during their meeting Tuesday evening.

Brett Bankert, a field representative with Chesapeake, presented the board with a road usage maintenance agreement or RUMA, that would cover a short stretch of Forbes Road near the border with Madison Township. Bankert sought to assure trustees that Chesapeake would take responsibility for damages incurred by trucks hauling drilling equipment, water tankers and other heavy loads.

Forbes Road is part of a planned route that would take the trucks north up Route 45 from Wellsville, west onto Osbourne Road in Madison Township, then south down Forbes Road, possibly across the border into Yellow Creek.

Chesapeake is said to be exploring the possibility of a well site in the border area of Forbes Road, which would necessitate the use of those roads. “It’s not on our schedule right now, but that could literally change tomorrow morning,” Bankert said.

Bankert pointed out that the agreement had already been signed by county engineer Bert Dawson, noting the significance of Dawson’s approval. Bankert also stated that representatives from CESO, Inc., a civil engineering firm retained by Chesapeake, was presenting a nearly identical RUMA to Madison Township trustees at their meeting.

Yellow Creek trustees pressed Bankert on a point of the agreement where Chesapeake would agree to restore any damaged roads to the same condition as they found them. Although Bankert stated that roads are sometimes repaired to better-than-found condition under certain circumstances, trustee Larry Brewer wondered why they the agreement couldn’t state that a damaged Forbes Road would be repaired to superior condition, regardless.

In reply, Bankert said the road would technically be improved, with a gravel overlay and double chip-and-seal, prior to usage so it could stand up to the strain imposed by company trucks. Without a guarantee of improvements up to the level of repaving, however, trustees were reluctant to sign the agreement. It was tabled pending further study.