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Opinion

January 21, 2013

Look closer to see changes drilling brings

Look closer to see changes drilling brings

What many people don’t understand about gas drilling is the magnitude of the change it will bring. Drilling proponents point to northeast Pennsylvania and see only a commercial boom. They show aerial photos with one or two drilling pads surrounded by forests and green fields. That could be us, they say, if only we’d get over our irrational fears.

But these aerial views don’t show what’s going on at ground level: the 24/7 truck traffic, the road damage, the noise, the smell, the night lights — or the increased crime, drug use and industrial accidents.

This is only a minor disturbance compared to what’s coming. Below ground, you’ll see a growing network of small “gathering” lines spreading everywhere, connecting to compressor stations feeding into larger pipelines, like the Constitution, which they are proposing to build through our area with the power of eminent domain.

This is only the beginning — in Pennsylvania, maybe 2 percent of the eventual buildout — of an estimated 200,000 wells in the Marcellus alone, not including layers like the Utica.

Look what’s happening in Dimock. The problem that began three years ago with contamination of drinking water was just the start. Last week, Williams (the company that wants to build the Constitution) threatened a lawsuit against the town if it denied a permit for a third compressor station. The measure passed unanimously over the objections of hundreds of residents. And this is just one of 27 “new” compressor stations proposed in Dimock’s county! Eventually there will be thousands all over Pennsylvania.

Once the gas companies get a foothold, they will take control. Town governments will be helpless to stop them. Rural life as we know it will be over. The time to say no is now!

Bob Rosen

East Meredith

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