THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE:
"I found out there was a spill on Wednesday night at a meeting with
Cabot- someone asked them about a spill and they acted, at first, like they did not know about one, and then they said yes there had been two that day but it was just harmless gel -nothing serious- they said nothing they use is harmful. The chemicals used are just a thimble full- 8,500 gallons is a pretty large thimble!!!
I questioned their water specialist what was this gel- "was it let's say safe enough to shave my legs with?" and he said "Why yes!" The owners of the land where the spills took place were not notified. They asked "I own that land, shouldn't you have told me?" I spoke (actually I yelled - I was so upset) to DEP this morning and Mark Carmen said "call the Governor- we can't do anything." I said if you had let these guys know from day one- they had to do things very carefully here in PA if they wanted to get permits, or the fines would be steep- things would be better than they are!
DEP is afraid to stand up to the gas company AND the governor. DEP allows the gas company to drill just about anywhere they want! I asked DEP awhile ago if it was a good idea to drill there in the wetlands and he said he was worried too- well who is in charge
here? THE GAS COMPANY FROM ANOTHER STATE!!!"
"Last evening a group of a dozen or so residents of Dimock met with
Cabot Oil and Gas. Our request was simple: water. The stories were
told and it was heartwrenching to say the least. I cannot believe the
courage these folks had last night. I am proud to be their neighbor.
Ironically the gas company brought their investors in the day before
to show off their "prize" Dimock. We are a prize- they stole our land
for $25 an acre, they deduct from the minimum royalties...
I imagine the investors smile and nod at the "manicured" well
sites they were shown- while the residents buy and haul water to their homes. I'm sure they did not point out the homes with the water tanks behind them disconnected from their water wells! I'm sure they didn't show them the latest round of spills or leaks -hey maybe the investors wouldn't care about that- it doesn't stop the money from flowing. It certainly doesn't stop the permitting or drilling! Fortunes made of other's misfortunes -tough luck- we gotcha and that is the way it is. They would not, could not offer us water. They blamed DEP. Only if DEP said they had to would they provide us with water, however they do provide water for some. Yet they say the gas company is here for the duration and they want to be good neighbors? Good neighbors to whom? Good neighbors bring you water - not take it away! ..."
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
"I know this from first hand experience with my family, some of our neighbors and second and third hand rumors from this town and the next town over:
Every land owner that is fighting an individual battle with a gas company is fighting a lonely, private battle. People settle all the time. Confidentiality agreements are signed all the time. Every transgression by big gas seems to result in another hopeless situation for another powerless landowner. It happens all the time and never gets into the news. Royalties are nothing compared to legal fees. The companies fight like hell, because every victory is a victory for industry, every court case sets a precedent. Activists must recognize this and realize the work that needs to be done right now on the front lines of gas drilling. Landowners need organization and REAL tangible resources that go beyond "how to sign a 'good lease'" or "how to convince hicks that gas drilling sucks". We need real honest-to-goodness public interest lawyers not snake-oil-sales-men-make-a-big-buck-gas-boom lawyers. We need legal funds for the important cases. For example, here in New York no precedent has been set on whether one company's well in one layer holds another company's lease in another layer in production, or whether a no storage clause in a unit landowner's lease could prevent a neighbor's injection well. Or whether a town can strip corporate personhood and demand accountability. We need a comprehensive legal strategy. Right now all that is standing between New York State and the gas companies having what ever they want is a few individuals-regular Joes and Jills with the gumption to put everything on the line. And I can tell you no one has the money to last very long.
One thing that has become very clear to me since drilling came to my town 5 years ago. Drilling vs. no drilling is a looser battle. So is singling out the victims, or blaming landowners. This is petty only serves to divide the people and strengthen the gas industry. At our last town board meeting, our Supervisor said "I am not for or against gas drilling. But I am for protecting our water." We need to get over ourselves and get together on the real issue. How many more people, places, streams are going to be sacrificed before we get it?"
Thanks to the people who allowed their thoughts and feelings to be shared here today.
As the gas industry moves into our area with greater and greater volume and intensity, we are being forced to think about things we never had to think about before, and they are demanding considerations to say the least. What is required of us is that we know score, and that we speak up... in the name of clean water, land, air and democracy... our vital resources!