Appalachian Basin

New York Invades Dimock!

Vic Furman
Chenango County Landowner

Dimock, Pennsylvania seems to have become the location for a proxy war by those from New York State fighting for their mineral rights and those seeking to block responsible natural gas development.  Every time I visit I find myself face to face with neighbors from Binghamton who are lining up with Dimock litigants against Cabot.

Curiously, I seldom see anyone from Dimock supporting the litigants.  The explanation, of course, came two weeks ago when Dimock residents (the 99% who know the truth) turned out en masse to give environmental lawyer (oops, I meant to say Mayor) Matt Ryan a hearty “mind your own business” boot.  This leaves me wondering why these litigants, if their case is so just, can’t gain the support of the local community.  Seems like they’ve never had it.

The first time I was struck by this was  September 25th, 2011, when my friends and I decided to go to Montrose, Pennsylvania to witness the plans of the litigants, and their allies, to carry water from the lake to Dimock as part of a walkathon.

As we planned for the trip we considered whether there would be room to park our cars due to the crowd we expected to participate. We were concerned as the event was  heavily promoted.  Given this, and the fact that some folks have painted this town as a place where everyone’s water was devastated by natural gas development, I expected a large turnout.  With all the hype we had to see for ourselves how a community would stand up for their right to clean water.  If that was, in fact, what the battle was about.

Susquehanna County, PA is home to over 43,000 people with 1,30o of those people living in Dimock.   Contrast these numbers to the march which attracted about 25 supporters. Most of whom were my neighbors from New York.  To me, this says something. I have to believe that a real problem, along the lines portrayed by the litigants, would have attracted hundreds of people in support of their cause.  It didn’t, of course.  That didn’t happen until Mayor Ryan arrived and the townspeople loudly said  “Enough Is Enough.” That tells me everything I need to know about the truth of the situation in Dimock.

I am not trying to say there was never a problem. However, that problem was fixed for everyone except those who refused any help.  Unfortunately, the litigants continue to ignore all data, tests and assistance and continue to pursue legal action 3.5 years later.  While other families accepted water treatments systems and financial settlements worth twice the value of their home and moved on the litigants continue their charade.  This occurs despite the fact that multiple tests show their water meets Safe Drinking Water Act standards and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently declared their water poses no threat to health.

From the picture below, and the video where over one hundred folks told Mayor Ryan to take a hike,  it looks like the bulk of the residents (the 99%) agree with PA DEP, U.S. EPA and just about everyone else who isn’t suing Cabot Oil and Gas.

What is going on here?  It’s not yet totally clear, but it is becoming more clear. Seems that Dimock is not about clean water but is instead about New York and the manipulation of the litigants by groups like NRDC and people like Josh Fox who seek to  further their own causes and prevent natural gas development. They couldn’t care less about the litigants and when they’re done using them, they’ll forget them, sadly.

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