Franklin Township ends RUMA with Chesapeake

May 17, 2015
Shale Play


Shale Play

SUMMITVILLE, Ohio - The current state of two Franklin Township roads along with an oil and gas company's refusal to cooperate has prompted trustees to sever its road use maintenance agreement.

Trustees voted during a recent meeting to terminate its RUMA with Chesapeake Energy after the oil company opted not to take responsibility to repair Acker Road and Nature Road, saying the roads are the township's responsibility.

The RUMA, which was worth $60,000, states that Chesapeake is responsible for maintenance of the roads as the company conducts drilling activity and is to keep them in "as good" or "better" condition.

In a voice message received by trustee Mike Lutz, a representative from Chesapeake said the company has ended drilling and is now in "production mode." As a result, the company is not responsible to repair the roads. The representative also said a letter in writing would be needed in the event the township were to end the RUMA.

"In the RUMA, it states 'drilling activity'," trustee chairman Rob Marra II said. "So he said they're in production mode. They're done drilling. So they're not obligated to fix anything. Even though they have trucks running out there and they're still using the wells, they're technically not drilling."

Lutz recommended that the board meet with county commissioners to attempt to get a 25-percent weight reduction on all township roads citing the township's roads cannot handle the weight of the trucks, causing the state of disrepair on Acker and Nature.

"Why would Chesapeake enter into a RUMA for $60,000 when they've never had to do it before?" Lutz said. "I'm running legal weight. They can't stop me, but if we can get the commissioners to see and say 'Come on and take a look, I can't fix the roads'. They're running a water truck every now and then."

Lutz said the township does not have the funds to fully fix the roads, which would force them to go broke.

Eventually Lutz motioned to end the RUMA, which was seconded by Marra and also approved by trustee Randy Brown. The trustees will contact legal advisor Andy Beech regarding the termination letter.

Meanwhile, earlier in the night, trustees met with Steve Adams and Ian Dickey, representatives from Spectra Energy, to present paperwork and information on the 76-mile interstate pipeline project, which is slated to begin April 23.

Dickey provided a description of the project to trustees, which originates in Hanover Township at the Kensington plant and will go south through Columbiana and Jefferson counties.

Roads that will be affected by the project are Willard, Bethesda Church, Hull, McSwiggin, Yellow Creek Church, Summitville and McKaig.

Trustees will also meet with Beech to draw up the RUMA with Spectra.



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