Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

January 31, 2014

Here’s what the Marcellus Shale gas drilling looks like

You’re pulling into the driveway of your old family farm. You nearly forgot to stop at the gas company check point, but it’s all right. They put a steel gate across the road to remind you. Waiting, you watch as two roughnecks struggle getting the gate open, running a deep trench through the muddy soil.

For 57 years that was a gravel drive, leading onto your 100-acre farm. The workers flash you dirty looks as the gate opens. Why are they always so rude? A few weeks ago, when you asked if they could tone down the flaring, a process that sends out massive sound waves along with fireballs, they got pretty rough.

As one of the roughnecks slammed you down into the cold mud, you couldn’t help but wonder why the local sheriff, along with state police, tend to side with the gas company, filing a restraining order for you to stay at least 100 yards from the gas well, to literally steer clear of your own property.

The smooth-talking gas man with a low southern draw promised your family millions. He said you were sitting on a hotbed of gas, the royalties would exceed 30k a month. Instead of reading the fine print, you signed on the dotted line.

The gas company got a cheap lease, they practically own your family farm now. All you got was tainted water, a massive well, a property that can never be sold and a home that resembles a war zone, not rolling hills and blue skies.

A few weeks ago, you read in the local paper about how a large gas company truck ran a small car off the road. A little girl was killed. When the family sued, the lawsuit was thrown out of court.

When they protested, suddenly unmarked cars showed up in their driveway. Dangerous looking men, cold looking men, suggested they back off or face some unknown consequence.

According to the Department of the Environment, soon your home will be uninhabitable due to all the flammable chemicals in the water. The gas company claims the chemicals, not seen in the 57 years your family owned this place, aren’t from the well resting on your land.

For some odd reason, the Department of the Environment mindlessly agrees. Where will you go? What will become of your broken and destroyed family farm?

How will you ever financially recover, with a worthless, toxic property and lease based on false promises and legally guarded fortunes? This is Marcellus Shale gas drilling in its current form.

 Jeremy Gosnell

Oakland

 

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