Thank you for covering the latest gas spill into the Loyalsock. It is a counterpoint to your editorial account (Nov. 16) of Senator Yaw’s pro-fracking talk at Penn College. While we agree with the senator and Representative Everett that “a reasonable gas severance tax” is desirable, we don’t agree with the senator when he deems the gas industry necessary for our survival.
With or without fracking, we will survive, but things would be better if we stop the gas industry from further development of wells, compressor stations, pipe lines, and access roads over our inspiring and attractive landscape.
New York went through an agonizing debate over fracking. A readable report by its Department of Health in cooperation with the Department of the Environment justifies New York’s ban. That report is internet available as “A Public Health Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing.”
Besides introducing health risks, fracking has taken wealth from the area. Corporate profits leave the area and state. Though workers spend some money locally, many send earnings to families out of state. Some struggling small-farm owners have made much appreciated money, and that seems to us the best thing that has happened locally. Renters in apartments and mobile home parks-not so lucky. Some hunting club members have made big money. One would hope they are spending or investing a good portion of that wealth locally.
Gas removed will never come back. The value of real estate in proximity to wells or compressor stations will decline, if it hasn’t already, for some banks have stated that they will not grant mortgages on loans for properties near wells or compressors, thus reducing property market values, just as flood-plain property has lost value. If your home’s water supply is ruined, forget about selling it. In Lycoming County methane gas has invaded at least two homes in proximity to gas wells. DEP has told the residents to “ventilate vigorously.” What!… if the ventilating fans fail? What if the power goes out? And there’s a spark? Boom!
Gas migrates. Earth’s crust moves. No structure is immune to the moving of the earth, as we’ve found with old conventional wells. Senator Yaw’s encouragement for hooking more of our infrastructure to local natural gas will likely lead to declaring energy distribution a public utility, thus allowing eminent domain connections through our properties. In my township, pipes can be placed as close as 50 feet to homes, which supervisors said is on the generous side of the norm. Swimming pools, outbuildings, and woodlots are not protected.
Wealth leaves as beauty and healthfulness leave our environment. A November 17 article reported that the secretary of DEP told members of our Chamber of Commerce that a big draw for businesses to the county “is the quality of the water” and “the reliance on a clean and lasting environment.” We can survive and prosper without expansion of an industry that has a very questionable record.
Ned and Gayle Peters-Coates
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom