Not for the people

I attended the hearing on gas drilling plans by Anadarko Petroleum in the Loyalsock State Forest held by the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee at Lycoming College. While the opportunity presented by the committee to hear citizens’ views was welcome and the turnout, more than 100 people, was impressive, not impressive was the little the representative from Anadarko heard from anyone. She got to make her speech first, then departed quickly to “another engagement.”

Not only did she not stay to listen to groups represented on the two panels who spoke, and to the number of citizens of the area who spoke, she put a lie to her statements of how close she feels to the area. If she cared very much, it did not show by the in-and-out appearance. If her company, Anadarko, cares very much, then she didn’t get the memo. Her brief appearance and her speech were, in fact, insulting.

Also insulting to local stakeholders was the absence of DCNR, the state agency that oversees the state forest, who were invited to the hearing, but did not appear. After holding a closed-door meeting in April on the issue, and not allowing citizens who have a stake in the preservation of our forests, to attend, only representatives of a few organizations, their absence at the hearing in Williamsport May 1 tells pretty clearly where they stand. And it is not on the side of the people in the Commonwealth they serve.

Sheila Lunger