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.