Susquehanna county residents have been bullied by the gas industry since fracking started back in 2006. Industry workers have no regard for the people they’re paving over, which inevitably leads to hostile encounters between the two sides. Because of this destruction, Susquehanna residents are fighting back.
Tammy and Matt Manning’s deepwater well has supposedly been contaminated since December 2011 when WPX—known as Williams E&P at that time—began drilling on two adjacent hills in hopes of producing clean-burning natural gas in Franklin Forks township. That money is making no difference in the town’s economy (or anywhere, for that matter). Despite over 950 wells, enrollment in free and reduced school lunches has increased in all but one of Susquehanna County’s school districts.
“We’ve seen all this drilling, but where’s the money?” Craig Stevens said. “I’m not against the industry, but I want to take a second to point this out. This is the Shalefield Stories. See this guy, Terry Greenwood? He died of a rare brain tumor a few days ago. He’s your neighbor. He lost 11 cattle and had 10 stillborn calves after his cows drank contaminated water from a fracking site on his property.” Craig, a native SoCal marketing muscleman, is the sixth generation owner of Snow Hollow Farm in Montrose, PA. We were at a town commissioner’s meeting and the people in front, the leaders of the town, ignored his comments.
Commissioner Alan Hall merely asked everyone to wrap up the meeting, and we left—our questions unanswered.
Outside the Manning’s, the United States Geological Society (USGS) was testing the water well for any signs of contamination from fracking and drilling. As I walked up to the site of the water testing, the WPX employees were looking at the tripod camera I was holding as if it was a detonation device. With the information being leaked about fracking causing water contamination, I can’t blame them for wanting to avoid the media. Their lawyer told me I “wasn’t approved by the court” to take pictures.
Our next focus at Energy Justice Summer is Testimonials. Over the next couple of months we’ll be gathering stories and testimonies via video and text for members of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania who’ve seen their water contaminated by drilling and fracking. The testimonials will be available on a website (link to come) with a map showing the locations of well contamination and the violations that caused them. These problems are happening now and the industry is covering them up, but you can only cover up a mess so much before it seeps through the whistleblowers and sounds the alarm.
Images by the Author; lead image via Shutterstock