The Marcellus Black Shale Formation

                    This is home to me.

  As if I didn’t have enough on my mind these days, I got a call from an old friend who lives just up the road from me. She is concerned about the way her neighbors and the local landowners are signing leasing agreements with landmen from companies which mine natural gas deposits.

You see, this part of Pennsylvania sits on the Marcellus Shale Formation, one of the biggest natural gas deposits in the United States. According to Terry Engelder, professor of geosciences at Penn State. . the Marcellus Formation  “contains 168 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in place and optimistically suggests that the amounts could be as high as 516 trillion cubic feet. “”At the present level of technology, he believes approximately 10% of this, or 50 trillion cubic feet (1.4 trillion m³), could be recovered. This is enough to satisfy approximately two years’ of total U.S. consumption, or a total value of approximately one trillion United States dollars.”
 If this recovery is realized, the Marcellus reservoir would be considered a Super Giant gas field. . .and life in our rural countryside would change forever.

 One company, Chesapeake Energy, is offering local landowners in excess of $1,500 per acre for 7-year leases with royalty offers as high as 15%. That’s a lot of money for some of the people here who subsist on minimum-wage jobs or whose dairy farms are dying due to high costs of production and increasing property taxes. For some folks in Wayne County that could mean a nice chunk of change for large parcels of property.

  The resulting noise, pollution, and traffic would mean decreased property values, higher incidences of sickness, and toxic water tables in an area known for its pristine beauty.  This is an image of a drilling site .

 I hope I never have to see that but I’m afraid of what the future brings for me and my neighbors.

To see a video of what drilling (or “fracing”) a well looks like :

 My friend has over 120 acres of land. She, her family and her two horses and her Labrador Retrievers enjoy the beauty and peace of it all. She is terrified.  I own 70 acres and think of it as my responsibility as steward of the land. The thought that all of this could one day soon be taken away by the greedy and irresponsible corporations which feed the American way of life hurts me immeasurably.

One more thing to keep me awake at night. If the divorce doesn’t kill me then thinking about this will surely contribute to my early demise.




16 comments on “The Marcellus Black Shale Formation

  1. I am a resident of Cherry Ridge, PA and your view looks like mine .. heaven sent. We have lived here 4 years and love it. We just crawled out from under our rock and found out about the “Marcellus Gas Rush in NEPA”, at a meeting in Honesdale’s Jr. H.S. last week. We are deeply wounded by the prospect of what lies ahead for this region. I love this land and area and fear for the future after the gas drilling has come and gone. Also its going to be a living nightmare to see the land being torn up and raped. I know thee has to be a balance, but this is devastating. Enjoyed your writing and I too can’t sleep because it’s always uppermost on my mind… it’s my home and my peace that they will rob me of.

    Eileen, welcome and sorry to have to meet this way. I know how you feel. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world but who knows what it will be like before too long. It seems most of the folks I talk to up here are believing the line the landmen are giving, namely that they won’t screw them over and f*ck up their property if the sign the lease. I wish I could bitch slap a few of them! Why won’t they do just a little bit of homework and wake up and smell the freakin’ coffee!~

  2. This is so scary. People are jumping at the chance to take the cash, but at what cost? And, some of these people really need the money which makes them such an easy target! GAH! Gosh, your area must be crawling with companies lining up to snarf up the land – I am embarrassed to say I had not heard of the Marcellus Shale Formation before your post. I’m sorry you’ve been just worried like crazy! I do learn something new every single day from my dear friends in the blogosphere! Smell the coffee indeed!

    Hey, JQ, don’t be at all embarrassed to say you didn’t know about this. People right here in our county are still learning about it. Keeping folks in the dark is a good plan if you want them to toe the line, so to speak. That’s why it was good to hear from people like Eileen (above). Maybe my blog will inform someone who can inform someone and so on. Education is the key.

  3. No! I need this little corner of the world to stay just as it is. It is where I go (in my mind) when my hood goes in the shitter.

    Sad thing is people who are not in the area will be pushing for this to happen as a way to ease the fuel crunch.

    Tell them bastards that I need this place. People all over the country need this place so that we can roll naked in the grass and laugh about the caterpillars stuck in our butt cheeks.

    Darlin’ girlfriend-in-the-hood, I am doing my damnedest to keep this place as-is for as long as we-is!
    Don’t just think about it, come on out to my place and help me squish some ‘pillars!!!!

  4. That picture makes me homesick! I used to ride Cisco in that field. I had my poles set up right there, along the dirt path that you can barely make out in the picture. We used to ride snowmobiles up on “Doc’s hill” there. I wish it would remain unchanged forever! 😦

    birdpress- I remember that. I still have the poles in the old barn! Don’t worry…nothing will ever take away those good memories, sweet baby girl.

  5. Oh, crap, crap, crappity, crapper! I’m so sorry you’re faced with this. Reminds me of when they strip-mined my grandparents 90 acres in PA – killing all the greenery and displacing the wildlife. The coal companies promised to reclaim the land, which they did, but it took them years and years – so long, in fact, that my grandfather never lived to see his land put back to it’s once pristine beauty. It makes me very sad. 😦

  6. “come on out to my place and help me squish some ‘pillars!!!! ”

    This should be the ad slogan for keeping your hood pristine.

    Oh, that’s a good idea!! Let’s do some T-shirts and billboards!!!! LMFAO!!!

  7. My husband’s wife & brother-in-law are currently living in the outer Pittsburgh area and are surrounded by this, with one across the street and another on its way. A lot of noise involved, on top of the rest. A real mess, considering you have no choice when it’s your neighbor who signs on with one of these companies.

    Pamajama -Oh, wow! So it’s already going on out there, eh? See, that’s what I worry about somewhat but I am in a fairly safe position since I won’t sign, my daughter across the street won’t sign, the next door neighbor to the north of me owns a huge block of land on which they have a water company. They bottle water under the label “Fox Ledge Water” so they will never sign on on..and to my east I’m surrounded by State Game Lands which I doubt can be mined. So maybe in my exact vicinity it will remain OK but still the repercussions will be felt all over here if many sign on as I fear they will.

  8. Well on a much smaller scale, we have a gorgeous National Park behind us. The girls and I were out walking there the other day and were met with diggers at every turn. They were making parking areas for cars, dotted throughout the park. Arghhhh!

    Hay- like that song “They pave paradise and put up a parking lot.” Makes you want to go bitch slap the powers-that-be!

  9. Yeah, and it you don’t have the mineral rights, it’s hard to keep the bastards off *sigh*

    Good luck

    Gadfly- you are so right! Thanks, my friend.

  10. Pingback: The Marcellus Black Shale Formation « « NY WELL WATCH

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