*UPDATE* Don’t Box Us In!
You’ve probably heard a lot about where I live, near Dimock, Pennsylvania, What you may not know, however, is that the reasons behind the moratorium Pennsylvania DEP imposed on natural gas development within the 9 square mile “affected area” or “box” where my family and I reside, no longer exist and, yet, we are still under this restriction, which is hurting all of us. I recently wrote to DEP Secretary Michael Krancer asking him to lift the moratorium and I hope many of you will assist us by joining in this request and writing your own letters. What’s happening (actually, what’s not happening) is horribly unfair and we need your help!
Here is the letter I sent Secretary Krancer:
Michael Krancer, Secretary DEP
Rachel Carson State Office Building
400 Market St.
Harrisburg, Pa. 17101
Dear Mr. Secretary,
My name is Esther Rayias and I live with my husband in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. My two sisters and I own the farm which my family has owned since the early 1900’s. Five years ago Cabot Oil & Gas came to us about leasing our property. As my grandfather had leased to gas companies before, we figured it would give us some money to pay real estate taxes for a couple of years. Imagine how we felt when we were told about four years ago that they wanted to drill for gas on our farm. But we know that sometime things get in the way. In March 2010, Cabot started a pad on which to drill the gas well. My husband and I were thrilled as our daughter was getting married and we figured the money would come in handy. But, being very practical, we wouldn’t spend money we didn’t have. In April, 2010, along comes the moratorium on the 9 square mile area. Of course, we were in the 9 square miles. Our property has been torn up for approximately 15 months.
As the moratorium has been in place for 14 months now with no end in sight, my question to you is this; what needs to happen to get the drilling started? When I can see wells being drilled that are closer to the Carter Road area than I am, I don’t understand. In fact, there is a well that was recently drilled which is ¼ of a mile from my house, but because it is in a different township and outside of the 9 square mile area, it’s okay to drill. I don’t understand.
I want responsible drilling to be done; however, I want drilling. I believe that Cabot has been responsible for their actions. I believe they have met the normal standards; however, the standards can’t be changed because someone in a position of authority has an issue with the industry.
The gas industry has been very good for Susquehanna County and in particular, Dimock. I know many people who have been helped by this. I am hoping that my husband and I can also be helped. My work has been cut in half this year. My husband had to have emergency surgery this year and is now out of work on disability.
I would like someone to answer my question; what needs to happen to get the drilling started? I would appreciate some answers. Our lives have been on hold because of this.
Thank you for your time.
If you agree with us that this is unfair, please help us get out of this box by writing a letter to Secretary Krancer. There is no longer any reason for this moratorium. DEP made a bad decision when it tried (and failed) to impose a water line on us and now it seems to creating a new problem by its inaction. Enough Already!
UPDATE: George Stark of Cabot Oil and Gas notes the following: “Cabot is doing all it can to renew operations ‘in the box.’ To date we have met the requirements of the settlement agreement with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, however they have asked additional questions, which we are addressing at this time. As a backdrop, the DEP has publicly stated hydraulic fracturing has nothing to do with any of the issues the DEP has reviewed in Dimock. Similarly there is a growing water test data base showing that methane is naturally present in many water samples throughout Susquehanna County, even in areas where no drilling has occurred. This fact pattern is positive for resolution of this matter. Rest assured we want this resolved as much as you do and are working diligently toward that outcome.”
UPDATE II: On Friday, September 30, Esther and her sister Barbara attended the T. Boone Pickens events in Williamsport, Pennsylvania where they had the opportunity to speak with Secretary Krancer. Krancer is aware of the situation in the moratorium zone in Dimock and is eager to meet to discuss it further. Thank you to everyone who has written letters! Be sure to congratulate Esther on getting an audience with Secretary Krancer and wish her luck in her next meeting with him. We’ll update again after they have met.