Appalachian Basin

It’s Fair Season! First Stop: Lycoming County

If you want to get a good feel for what folks are really thinking about a given subject, especially here in rural PA, set up a table at the fair. I live in Lycoming County, and even though I talk to my neighbors all the time about the promise and potential of the Marcellus, it wasn’t until I was sitting at a booth at the Lycoming County Fair that I realized how overwhelming the support is for natural gas among everyday folks in the community!

Our booth is with the Marcellus Shale Coalition and American Natural Gas Association, two of the most active natural gas trade associations in the country.  Almost every person who walked by stopped to talk to us or picked up some of our literature. It was quite the experience listening to people who have wells on or in proximity to their land, local residents who have found jobs in the industry, landowners interested in forming coalitions in their communities, and just people curious about “when are they going to come to my property?”

While we did get the occasional dirty look from some passers-by, and one gentlemen actually told us to “go back where we came from” (I was born in Williamsport and live less than 5 minutes from the fairgrounds), I can count those instances on one hand. Out of the hundreds of people who walked by or stopped at the table, only five, by our count, were opposed to natural gas development.

People signed up for our mailing lists so they can get more information on the industry. We also helped job-seekers learn how to use PA CareerLink and the MSC job portal to get started on their search. We also laid the groundwork for starting coalitions in Lycoming, Sullivan, and Colombia counties.

One  gentleman who stopped by described how he had a natural gas well less than 600 feet from his water well and has had NO problems. He couldn’t be happier with the company, how they are working on his property, the safety precautions they are taking and the level of concern they have for he and his wife, the landowners. He even mentioned how some of his neighbors have always had methane in their wells, long before gas companies arrived.

A woman running a booth nearby told us about how methane was hit when her water well well was originally drilled (she lives in the Jersey Shore/Pine Creek area). As a result, she has always had a ventilation system for methane and sulfur. She said  she doesn’t understand all of the fuss about methane in water wells, citing the fact that it’s been a common occurence in our area for decades — long before natural gas was ever harvested from the Marcellus.

The overwhelming messages we heard when we weren’t being asked about leasing or jobs: “People just aren’t informed or they don’t live where it’s happening.” “I wish they (those opposed to production) would stop trying to speak for those of us who are in the majority and happy with the operations.” Oh, and my favorite that many people simply yelled as they were walking by, “Keep up the good work!”

Someone from the MSC, ANGA or EID will be at the Fair all week and then we’ll be moving on to the Troy Fair in Bradford County.  If you are attending either, stop in and see us. We’d be happy to answer your questions or get you in touch with someone who can.

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