Appalachian Basin

It’s Time to Clean Up

Yesterday, we highlighted some of the tactics that folks opposed to natural gas development in our area have used over the past several days  in attempting to use the flood as  a means of attacking the industry.  Of course,  for all their concern about fracturing fluids “flowing with flood waters irreversibly into our ecosystem,” as some group calling itself Protecting Our Waters wrote in a press release sent to reporters as the river rose on Sept. 9, DEP has confirmed that none of that actually happened. 

Of course, there is another important story out there as our valley continues to dig out from this horrific flood. Specifically, the story is about how producers along the northern tier of PA are lending hands, resources and support to help the area recover. Keep reading for how companies like Cabot Oil and Gas, Chesapeake and Chief Oil and Gas have pitched in to lend a hand during some of the most difficult moments in the area’s history.

In contrast to the opposition’s efforts, this story speaks to the positive, better side of humanity — people concerned about neighbors and working to help them during their greatest challenges.  In the aftermath of this disaster natural gas operators have continued to put the community first. Which makes sense, since they live here too.

In the storm’s immediate wake companies pledged everything from financial donations, equipment, manpower and time to rebuild communities.  This was evident in a release from Chesapeake Energy where they summarized some of their efforts.

 “We are fully engaged with local emergency-management agencies and have informed the county EMA directors of our ability to provide assistance. We have provided supplies – including bottled water, cots, generators, pumps and other essential items – and we are working diligently to identify ways in which we can assist in the response and recovery.”

This however only tells part of the story.  Chesapeake also provided employees to assist with staffing county call centers, freeing these folks to do other work helping communities in need.  Chesapeake took the field putting pumps, pipelines, water trucks and construction equipment to work removing water and clearing debris to name a few. Here are some pictures from a few of Chesapeake’s efforts at helping their neighbors (unlike the anti’s these pictures are from PA not Pakistan):

Chesapeake was not alone in this effort.  Producers from throughout the region contributed to the recovery.  Cabot Oil & Gas’s chief executive Dan Dinges issued this statement

“Clearly the most important thing at this time is to help the community begin the recovery process and immediately help all of the residents who have been impacted….to that end, we have committed both monetary and equipment resources to the area and are working with our service providers to engage their assistance as well.”

So far Cabot has provided $100,000 to the Susquehanna and Wyoming County chapters of the American Red Cross , Susquehanna Interfaith, and the United Way who split these funds for their recovery and assistance efforts.  Additionally, like Chesapeake, the company marshalled its resources to provide manpower and equipment to help communities clean up the mess left behind from last week’s disaster. 

Chief Oil & Gas, joined with Tug Hill, and made a joint commitment of $250,000 to help families and communities in Pennsylvania who were devastated by the flooding. Kristi Gittins, Vice President of Industry and Public Affairs for Chief said,

“We felt it was important to come together as a community and provide assistance wherever we could.”

There are many other examples of neighbors helping neighbors, joined by companies and non-profit organizations, in doing what they can to help each other recover from this tragic event.  Likely these stories will be recounted in the area for generations.  I still recall the stories my parents told me about “the big one” Tropical Storm Agnes.  Now it seems the “big one” is “small potatoes”. 

These moments not only challenge us, they inspire us, bring us together and provide us the resolve to overcome.  For their part, the natural gas companies in the northeast Marcellus were happy they could be a part of this recovery effort.  As one industry worker said, “we are invested in these communities for the long haul and are happy we can lend a hand”. 

This stands in pretty stark contrast to others who doctored pictures and tried to shift the dialogue from the real impacts absorbed by communities along the Susquehanna River to a manufactured tale of natural gas devastation.  Say what these folks will.  Like most good neighbors, the producers of the Marcellus are committed to the communities where they operate and will be there to lend a hand whenever one is needed.


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