When it's so pathetic not even 'The Onion' makes fun
    Alfred & Vincent's RTK papers: what little they committed to
    paper, email about the gas and oil lease says so much

    RTK Surprises

    1. A June 14 email:  The RTK answer contained a correspondence, dated June 14, 2015, from a Chevron rep, to Geno
    Gallow, Al Ambrosini's aide, thanking the aide for meeting that day. "I will get the other terms of the lease together for
    the county to review," he wrote after meeting with the aide that day. Previously, we were told that correspondence or
    discussion of a lease did not occur before July 21.

    2. Email on July 15 from Chevron rep to Al Ambrosini, referencing their previous meeting with Ambrosini on July 13,
    saying, "attached is the oil and gas lease that we discussed on Monday of this week. The Chevron rep thanked
    Ambrosini for meeting with him. Previously, we were told that correspondence or discussion of a lease did not occur
    before July 21.  

    3. July 17 email, from Gallo to Chevron rep, saying that Vince Zapotosky had concerns that the DCNR may be required
    to submit a waiver allowing drilling. Gallo instructed the Chevron rep to contact Zapotosky by phone if he had any
    questions. Previously, we were told that correspondence or discussion of a lease did not occur before July 21.

    4. July 17 email, from Gallo to Zapotosky and Zapotosky aide, Kathy Winkler, stating that Ambrosini asked him to
    forward "this" to Zapotosky and Winkler. The email identified 2 pdf file attachments, a lease and a memorandum.
    Previously, we were told that correspondence or discussion of a lease did not occur before July 21.

    5. August 4 email, from Gallo to Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, telling her that both Zapotosky and Ambrosini met
    that day in an unplanned meeting to discuss the possibility of a lease.

    6. August 10 email, from Gallo to Chevron rep, asking him to contact Ambrosini, who had a few questions, on Gallo's
    cell phone or Gallo's courthouse extension.  No mention of Ambrosini's questions is made.

    7. August 16 email, from the county solicitor to Gallo, saying, "...you are still good to go with the lease."


    What the RTK answer did not include:

    1. DCNR letter, dated 8/11/15

    Since some inner-office RTK memos, email written correspondences were dated after August 13, this RTK answer
    should have, but did not include a copy of the letter dated 8/13, from the DCNR, requesting a copy of the draft lease by

    Speaking of that 8/29 deadline, it probably never occurred to the DCNR that the county commission majority would
    recklessly fast-track the lease signing in violation of the County Code, when the state projected that Aug. 29 deadline.

    It never occurred to the thinking public that the media would censor the release of news -- i.e., that the county
    commission majority lied on 8/18 at a public meeting, answering a county resident falsely that everything was Honky Dory
    with the gas and oil lease from the state's perspective.

    The DCNR likely gave the deadline of the 29th assuming the county knew what it was doing and counted the 3
    mandatory weeks of dual advertisement in 2 county papers to publicly announce the pending lease.

    People read newspapers to learn informative details. Media, which claims to be the watchdogs for the people, should at
    least have the integrity to point out that the 29th deadline not passing yet is a moot point. The county threw caution and
    reason to the wind and improperly ratified a long-term, charity lease that violated County Code. The media appears to be
    quietly comfortable, seeming not to mind, when County Code is violated, as previously noted here before.   
    The August 13 letter to the county, shamefully never mentioned at the August 18 county meeting, and shamefully not
    mentioned publicly until yesterday, August 20 -- should have been included in the RTK answer. The DCNR letter is a
    significant piece of documentation that the minority commissioner stated on the radio that she had just received, one
    week after it was write.

    It was not included in the RTK. However, given that the media has seen the letter and knows that the very real state
    correspondence contradicts county commission majority's Honky Dory public statement, the media has a responsibility to
    release that information to the public.

    To overlook and not document in the watchdog of the community press that the county commission majority violated
    County Code again and gave false information at a public meeting is amazing to the thinking public. Censoring the news
    to withhold County Code violations promotes and helps feed corruption and encourages only more back room deals.

    Perhaps the media has grown so used to code violations and lies from this commission majority that reporting the
    violations and lies in print just isn't news. This time, however, the County Code violation is significant because the violation
    touches state agencies that helped fund several conservation projects at the park.

    Another possible red flag
    1. Email dated August 16, from the county solicitor to the chief clerk, saying, "Make sure you attach the original LERTA
    ordinance as well. Check with Geno Gallo to make sure you have the proper addendum. I think you may have the old one
    for oil and gas lease."

    By 4:10 PM today, having not yet heard from
    the chief county clerk that this Right To Know
    answer was prepared and ready to be picked
    up, a check with the treasurer's office
    confirmed that no message was forwarded
    there with a RTK doc price from the chief clerk.

    "WTH!" I thought, going to the basement for the
    second -- but not last -- time a few minutes
    later, to ask at 4:15 PM if the Right To Know
    answer was ready.

    Someone at the first office tried to reach the
    chief clerk. A quick check of email one floor up
    showed no RTK email announcement.   

    "WTH!" I thought to myself yet again. Was the
    county really going to let this RTK silence
    return to state appeal at one minute past the
    close of business hours today?

    Waiting out front a few minutes later, until the
    clerk's meeting was over with someone in the
    media -- who surely may have splurged and
    picked up or reviewed tons of RTK docs --
    another quick check by phone showed no
    incoming RTK email news.

    Was the RTK ready?

    Was I aware that the RTK appeal was
    dismissed, the chief clerk asked. Of course!

    The question was, was she aware that the
    state RTK appeal could be refiled at the start
    of the next business day, if the RTK answer did
    not materialize by the close of business today?

    Was the RTK ready?

    Eventually, she, yes, again spoke. She wasn't
    sure, had to think. Really had to think, judging
    for the amount of eye and mouth movement
    and staring.

    Again, she spoke. Yes.

    Yes, and, so efficiently, the chief clerk then
    knew right away that the elusive RTK answer
    was 16 pages and would cost $4.

    "WTH!" again I thought, shaking my head,
    laughing and talking to myself, going back up
    to the treasurer's office to pay.

    Had I not simply showed up at the courthouse
    and asked, with no email from the clerk
    arriving by 4:20 PM, one has to give serious
    consideration to the possibility that the RTK
    answer would not have been announced and
    would not have been ready for pick up by the
    close of county business today.

    Had the county missed the RTK deadline after
    the close of business today, it's likely that
    nobody would have blinked.

    21-Aug 15
    Copyright Protected

    To open the pdf file to read the entire
    RTK Answer, please click here. This
    site apologizes to readers for some
    repetition and light ink on some pages, but
    that's how the RTK was given.
    Emails, announcing 8-20 a denial of
    the state OOR appeal -- because it
    was filed one day premature -- and
    OOR Ms. Henry's subsequent email
    to clarify that the same appeal could
    be refiled the next business day if
    the RTK Answer was not received by
    the close of county business on 8-

    Toye v. Fayette County: OOR Dkt 2015-1640
    4 messages

    DC, OpenRecords <RA-OpenRecords@pa.
    gov>        Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 2:59 PM
    To: "julietoye
    "arevak@fayettepa.org" <arevak@fayettepa.

    Good Afternoon,
    Please see the attached appeal that has been
    filed with the Office of Open Records and the
    Final Determination that has been made.  
    Thank you!

    Faith Henry
    Administrative Officer
    Office of Open Records
    Commonwealth Keystone Building
    400 North Street, Plaza Level
    Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225
    (717) 346-9903  |  http://openrecords.state.pa.

    2015-1640 Toye-Fayette County.pdf
    Julie Toye
    Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 4:04 PM
    To: "DC, OpenRecords" <RA-
    Ms. Henry,

    For clarification, is this correct? I am able to
    refile the same appeal on Aug. 24, 2015, if I
    do not get a RTK answer today or

    OpenRecords <RA-OpenRecords@pa.
    gov>        Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 4:20 PM
    To: Julie Toye

    Yes.  If you do not receive a response from the
    County by the end of the business day
    tomorrow you may refile your appeal on
    Monday, August 24, 2015.  Our procedural
    guidelines provide for 3 mailing days before an
    appeal is considered timely.


    Faith Henry
    Administrative Officer
    Office of Open Records
    Commonwealth Keystone Building
    400 North Street, Plaza Level

    Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225

    (717) 346-9903  |  http://openrecords.state.pa.

    From: Julie Toye
    Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2015 4:05 PM
    To: DC, OpenRecords
    Subject: Re: Toye v. Fayette County: OOR
    Dkt 2015-1640

    Julie Toye <julietoye@gmail.com>        Thu,
    Aug 20, 2015 at 4:23 PM
    To: "DC, OpenRecords" <RA-
    Thank you for your prompt reply. Hopefully,
    I will receive it tomorrow then.


Below, is a letter to the editor that was published on heraldstandard.com on 8-23-15.

A tale of two natural gas leases

By John Cofchin | Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2015 2:00 am

A few years ago, Range Resources submitted a proposal to Allegheny County Council to horizontally drill under Deer Lakes County

County government responded by scheduling a series of public hearings to provide a forum for Range Resources to explain its
proposal and enable the citizens to ask pertinent questions regarding health, safety, economic and quality of life potential impacts.

The proposal was ultimately approved, with industry analysis concluding that county government, through negotiation, “have secured
higher revenue payments without ignoring environmental concerns.'' An attorney who specializes in gas and oil leases commented, “I’
d say the county did pretty well for itself”.

Meanwhile, 75 miles south, Fayette County has a very different story to tell.

Chevron recently, we don’t know exactly when, submitted a proposal to two of the three Fayette County commissioners to
horizontally drill under Masontown County Park.

The two majority Commissioners responded by ignoring the public’s interests, provided no opportunity for Chevron to present and
explain its proposal nor any forum for the citizens of Fayette to have their legitimate concerns addressed.

Chevron, Commissioner Al Ambrosini and Commissioner Vince Zapotosky all freely admit, “There was no negotiation” on the terms of
the lease. Note to the commissioners; Negotiating for the best deal possible for the citizens of Fayette is part of your job description.
We did not hire you to serve as energy company enablers, water boys or squanderers of public property.

What did Chevron get from this deal? Thanks to geophysical mapping, a hi-tech sonogram of what lies below the surface of
Masontown Park, they already know that there is a high probability of abundant natural gas and natural gas liquids.

The no negotiation lease also gives Chevron unfettered access to not only the Marcellus Shale Strata, but any and all potentially
productive geology. Any prudent negotiator would have isolated the Marcellus and reserved other strata for future negotiations.

Masontown Park’s location is a logistical dream for any energy company. Its close proximity to the Mon River provides easy access
to the millions of gallons of water required for the fracking process. The park is also a stone’s throw from the frack water
processing/disposal site adjacent to the Masontown Bridge where flow back and produced waters from the wells can be disposed of.
Fewer miles driven to transport all of those liquids is a huge bonus to Chevron.

What did Fayette County get from the deal beside shafted? $188,000 dollars over a five-year time period. Plus the opportunity to wait
another five years for another $188,000.

Fayette County voters should ask Commissioners Ambrosini and Zapotosky why they were in such a big rush to agree to such a bad

Don’t blame the Marcellus shale, it was deposited here about 390 million years ago and it’s unlikely to depart Fayette County anytime

Don’t blame Chevron. If one of the poorest counties in Pennsylvania wants to give away its resources to this $150 billion energy
giant, Chevron is unlikely to complain.

Don’t plead ignorance. If the lease language is too complex, there are many knowledgeable gas an oil lawyers available to guide
your decision making process.

The only possible conclusion, Election Day is rapidly approaching. This “deal” will provide a photo opportunity and the illusion that
progress and prosperity are on the doorstep of Fayette County. The operative word here is illusion.

Clearly, we cannot endure another four years of Ambrosini-style management. Fayette County requires and its citizens deserve
leadership that is transparent, inclusive and responsive to the public, not special interests.

Mr. Ambrosini never figured that out.

John Cofchin is a resident of Uniontown.