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The Shale Game Part 1: County vs. County

Monday, September 27th, 2010


  • Bruce Foster says:

    Yeah. I send a few bucks your way once a year. Maybe more, soon.

    I am reading the text as I have missed the real-time radio show. Very easy for me to get the text, so thanks for that too.

    The citizens of Alberta Canada have this kind of problem too. And the degredation is larger, it seems, as the extraction process is more demanding of resources.

  • Lar says:

    I’ve done tons of research on fracking and this is what I see. Money will always trump human health and the environment…just the way it is these days. Its hard to think that 25% of the people in Damascus township have signed leases (this comprises 90% of land in Damascus). A lot are farmers, but its really hard for me to comprehend those farmers saying how poor they are when they own hundreds of acres of land! They say they signed because they want to keep their farms for their kids and grandkids. Well guess what, you won’t have a farm in the future because your livestock won’t be able to drink the water and your land will be so contaminated from fracking fluid that you won’t be able to grow crops. I want to personally thank all those who signed leases for the destruction of the beautiful and awesome Upper Delaware River valley. There will be no recreational activities in the future because there will be little to no water in the river thanks to the millions of gallons of water needed per drill well. The gorgeous eagles, and deer and bear will move elsewhere. No more fishing… And to Mr. Jones who runs a canoe livery, good thing you bought land and signed as you won’t have much business launching canoes or kayaks in the future. We’ve been renting canoes, kayaks and rafts from your business for 37 years – that will end today. Good to see there are intelligent people in NY – at least they’re doing more research into this fracking process before moving forward.

  • Brandon Schoonover says:

    Fracking natural gas wells in the Marcellus Shale is an catastrophe in the making. People should pay zero attention to the money. Deduct environemntal devastation, increases in cancer, loss of life and quality of life, degradation of wildlife and habitat, destruction of our water…..AND THE COST WILL OUTWEIGH THE FINANCIAL BENEFIT. Does NOT speak highly of humans that we are even having this argument. People, health, and environemnt are ALWAYS MORE VALUABLE THAN MONEY! Say NO to drilling!

  • KRISTY says:


  • Gary Wagner says:

    Thank you WHYY for this series. I do not live in the area where there is Hydro chemical Fracturing for Natural Gas but as a fairly frequent visitor to the area, I can understand the allure of the windfall profits that will be realized by allowing the gas companies to drill.

    That said, I think back on other uses of the land in the northern tiers of Pennsylvania Counties: Clear Cutting vast tracts of land for Timber, wholesale strip mining for coal, overuse of fertilizers in farming. In all cases, the environmental repercussions have been catastrophic and it has take decades to recover from the activities. Additionally, those who were left to clean up from those activities were NOT the people who reaped the financial benefit. Rather, it was the Citizens of Pennsylvania who not only had to pay for the clean-up, but also suffered from the degradation of their land and water. These situations make me skeptical of the process that is taking place now.

    Environmentalists must prove beyond all doubts that the Hydro Chemical Fracturing process is not harmful while those interested in drilling can make their point through advertising and public relations and can ignore science to a large degree. They can ignore the potential downsides while touting only the benefits. The gas companies don’t even use accurate words when describing the drilling process. “Fracking” does not begin to describe the process; or its risks.

    Additionally, I can’t be reassured by the “regulations” that cover the process of drilling. The State of Pennsylvania will financially benefit from the drilling so I wonder how much pressure will be placed on those responsible for the development and enforcement of Gas drilling regulations. I can imagine that the pressure to make it easy on the Gas Companies will be immense and not necessarily will the regulations be in the best interest of Pennsylvanians or the environment.

    Perhaps it is ok to take a stance that the drilling is acceptable as long as the gas companies meet “regulations” and the process benefits the landowners. My questions are: What happens when the regulations are not met, or are not sufficient and there are negative results to the environment? Who compensates the landowners for the destruction of their way of life? Who cleans up the ground water and river pollution? Who pays for the lowering of the quality of life in that area? If one looks at the history of other times we’ve harvested natural resources, I think it is clear that it isn’t those who reaped the rewards.

  • caroline hogue says:

    “It’s an old story”, as noted by other commentors…but one that should
    be further examined before “taking sides”. Having grown up in a part of
    Pennsylvania that is very poor, and having been fortunate enough to migrate to wealthier Philadelphia suburbs, it’s a little easier to see that many
    poor landowners feel it is their right to do as they wish, and that
    “environmentalists” are hasty in condemning these projects when it doesn’t
    affect them economically.

    Unless the drilling and future water use violate current regulations, isn’t
    it better to let the landowners decide, and if environmentalists are so
    eager to dissuade them, let them put their money where their mouth is?

    • Holden Caulfield says:

      So you as landowner lease your “land” to set up the drilling rig, and whoever the poor clown is that happens to own the land that shares the same water table is just out of luck when his water and soil are poisioned?

      Your rights end at the tip of my nose, and although the drill bit might be on your land, that mix of caustic and carcinogenic chemicals is going to permeate beneath the soil and into the water of just what is defined by the surveyors stakes on your property.

      So this idea of “landowners should decide, not environmentalits” is a bit blind when a neighbor can poison more land than just what he owns.

      Let me put your money where your mouth is – I’ll bring over a few gallons of the stuff we’ve scooped out of these evaporating ponds and we’ll just let the bucket sit on our porch and see if it won’t ruin your next cookout in your back yard from the fumes alone.

      Stop demonizing environmentalists; you want to impress me? Volunteer to go on live TV and stand NEXT TO, not under, a showerhead that is pouring out the chemicals from these evaporation pond just so you can take a few good deep breaths and then sing “God Bless America” so we can see if your tune changes.

      They dont’ violate CURRENT REGULATIONS because the regulations that were put in place in the Clean Water Act of 1972 were given special exclusion in 2005, to guess who?

      That’s right, money-where-your-mouth-is – only the oil and gas drilling industry. So you as a farmer must obey the Clean Water Act, but Cabot oil and gas does not.

      Still so proud of how the landowner has all these rights?

      The guy who owns a farm is legally more liable for the runoff from the fertilizer used on his crops or the manure from his livestock than any of the natural gas and oil companies are for a list of stuff that’s been on the hazardous chemical roster since we created the EPA.

      Enough already with this libertarian delusions. You don’t have the right to poison your nieghbor, nor do you have the right to accept money and let someone else poison them and act as if you’ve not got the same blood – er, chemicals – on your hand.

  • Barbara Raitzky says:

    Thank you WHYY for this series. Technology is useful but it is not science! Technology (by definition) is “applied” science. When corporate technology is examined one usually finds some oversight or half truth. Runaway technology is an old story. The corporations and those standing to profit from technology proceed with the blessing of politicians. The environmentalists are humiliated and made to appear obstructionist. It’s an old story.

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