Marcellus Shale

Franklin Forks Claims Fueled by Ignorance or Activist Science

A few weeks back, EID-Marcellus published a series of posts on the developing situation in Franklin Forks, where activists declared, without evidence, methane in a residential water well was due to natural gas development in the area. While these unsubstantiated claims have yet to be dismissed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), history, evaluation of the well, and science have all concluded the methane is biogenic and not related to natural gas development.

Simply put, isotopic testing, a method of finger-printing methane, has determined the methane in Franklin Forks is from a shallow formation that does not match the signature of methane found in the Marcellus Shale.

If you’re familiar with the area, this makes sense. Franklin Forks is less than a mile away from Salt Springs State Park.  The park is known for the presence of methane, and resulting bubbling water as far back as Native American times, well before any Marcellus development occurred in the region.  This is noticeable in state documents describing the park, and the fact that this creek can be lit on fire, as seen in this video.

Of course, the Manning’s either don’t appreciate this history or don’t care about it.  This is evident in the quote they provided to the Scranton Times Tribune.

 “I wouldn’t be surprised if WPX’s tests said that,” she said. “Obviously they are not going to convict themselves.”

It appears they either choose to reject this history, or are being manipulated by well-known natural gas opponents Vera Scroggins and Craig Stevens.  These activists have instigated multiple unfounded claims of natural gas impacts throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. The most clear example is in the town of Dimock where they continue their efforts even after testing by DEP and EPA has confirmed the water is safe to drink.

Now, after the Manning’s filed a lawsuit against WPX Energy, it appears Scroggins and Stevens are attempting to transform Franklin Forks into a “new Dimock.”  Scroggins is in the following video harassing WPX Energy employees while they investigate the Manning’s water well.  It’s quite revealing!

This video followed an earlier offering showing water being ejected from the Manning’s well, reportedly from the presence of methane. In investigating the claim WPX energy found a mechanical malfunction was a more likely cause as their engineers were able to recreate the phenomenon. This is noticeable in the video below.

Immediately following this revelation, under the guidance of Scroggins, Tammy Manning contacted her attorneys who in turn barred WPX Energy from the property. To date, neither WPX Energy nor DEP have been allowed to further assess and fix any mechanical problems associated with the water well.

WPX Energy, at the request of DEP, has already assisted the Manning’s in a number of ways including testing the air in the house for methane and delivering fresh water to the Manning’s.  WPX engineers are willing, and able, to help correct the mechanical problem in the Manning’s well at the company’s expense, but are being denied access.

It will be interesting to see how Scroggins and the Manning’s react to DEP’s isotopic findings, which will likely match WPX results. The activist and homeowners have already disputed the company’s tests, despite Vera’s insistence weeks ago that WPX conduct those tests.

We could hear claims n the coming weeks from Scroggins and her friends that DEP has been bought or that their tests were faulty. Unfortunately, this has all been done before and continues to make news just down the road in Dimock, where the EPA has recently confirmed the water is safe to drink.

When will these individuals stop trying to make a name for themselves, blaming a company for an issue they already had, and actually seek to fix the problem?  Apparently, not anytime soon if activists such as Scroggins have their say.

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