A Natural Gas Tour in Dimock, Pennsylvania
A good time was had by all recently at the Worcester Strawberry Festival on Main Street in Worcester, New York. I convinced Dick Downey and Bruce Hollenbeck to take a break from our business of gathering signatures for a pro-natural gas senate candidate, to wander up to the local anti-gas group display (we left Ed Zaengle to pick up our slack, a good day for Worcester signatures, our pro-gas candidate will officially be on the ballot). We arrived to find the typical poster board propaganda, this time complete with a seismic map advertising the danger of fracturing presents to our hamlet’s back-up water supply (Caryl’s Lake). We had a discussion/debate that grew louder, drew an audience and presented us an opportunity we could not have planned any better!
By coincidence they were distributing copies of their latest fear rag “The No Frack Almanac.” This is the upper half of the front page.
We were already scheduled to visit “hell” (Susquehanna County) the following week along with Don Zaengle and a group from Dick’s Otego Coalition. Our first stop was the center of hell itself.
This well is several years old and is netting millions of dollars for the Elk Lake School District. We can report that even the most vulnerable amphibians in closest proximity to the wellhead were alive and thriving!
We traveled to an active well site, too.
At this site we met the operations manager (as pictured below) who took a half hour out of his busy schedule to answer questions about this specific well which will have multiple laterals, each with up to 12,000+ runs from the surface. The site was impeccable and views from the hilltop pad were spectacular.
We then stopped at a well about to be hydraulically fractured.
Again with a beautiful view with minimal disruption. All told, we saw about 20 pads in various stages of activity including completion. Truck traffic was sporadic and unobtrusive on well-maintained/repaired roads. We saw no residential “for sale” signs, but many had new buildings, additions, and improvements. Cows, horses and humans were alive and well. Even during our visit to (and interview with a resident of) Carter Road, we saw only one “No Drill/No Spill” lawn sign. Instead, we saw dozens of “Dimock Proud” signs. A “story from hell, aka Pennsylvania?” Hardly!
Finally, this is my recent letter to the editor to the Oneonta Daily Star in response to a guy from Walton who tried to misrepresent my point from a quote published when I was interviewed about the recent Siena “Anti-fracturing” poll.
“If anyone (such as Mr. Dungan of Walton) were to read my entire response in the Daily Star interview relative to the Siena ‘Fracking Poll,’ it would be obvious that I was criticizing the absence of positive aspect reporting of natural gas development in the media as a principal causative of rampant anti-drilling statement.
I stand by my ’10 wells were drilled without incident today’ comment after having spent a day in Susquehanna County last week inspecting drill pads in all stages of activity. Mr. Dungan’s mathematical treatment of raw numbers of ‘violators’ ignores the natural of the violation, the date and number of ‘violations’ associated with a single well, the number of preventative ‘violations’ immediately mitigated without enforcement or fine, the absence of ‘violations’ resulting in public health impact, etc. In fact only a handful of these ‘violations’ could have possibly resulted in a widespread or even localized human or animal health impacts. The fact is that they did not, the regulatory system worked and is being continuously improved. In fact it would not surprise me to see ‘violations’ reports (more ‘numbers’ for the likes of Mr. Dungan and the press) increase in New York State due to the natural and detail of the SGEIS. This is a good thing.
Instead of the Dimock, Pennsylvania portrayed by the anti-drillers as hell on earth I saw well designed, highly safety-oriented facilities and operation staffed by competent, friendly, well-employed individuals. The beautiful countryside is minimally disturbed, truck traffic is sporadic and controlled on well-maintained roads and routes change every few weeks. Local business is brisk, no residential ‘for sale’ signs were evident and renovations and improvements were prevalent. Sorry, no ‘No Drill’ signs, only ‘Dimock Proud’ signs.
I will await regular reporting under the heading ‘Natural Gas Development Benefits Local Community.”
Their tactics will never change…