Sunday, July 11, 2010

Where to Start?

Hills and streams, prosperous farms, a mid-summer patchwork of corn, pasture, hay and bales, stands of hardwoods, and small towns with schools, churches and local businesses...this is what I see in northeastern Pennsylvania. 
In my own New York State just to the north, the pattern continues similarly outside the cities all the way to Lake Ontario, broken by the long, thin and exquisitely clear and beautiful Finger Lakes.
My drive to Dimock is important because ever since we returned from living in Missouri for just 16 months, hydraulic fracturing has come blasting into my consciousness.
Many of my friends are concerned and want a moratorium; others see it as inevitable and want to be sure landowners here in NY get the best possible lease deals.
I have learned that it is a highly complicated and disruptive process to extract natural gas from deep shale beds that run from here to West Virginia, and that the wells can and have leaked poisons into water tables, that there will be above-ground spills, and that vast quantities of water are used and then recovered as highly dangerous waste with no good way to store or decontaminate it.
That last part reminds me of nuclear power and the heart breaking struggles in which we took part decades ago when it became so crystal clear there was no way to safely dispose of the waste the half-life of which is eons long.
So, I want to see for myself.
This is what I find in northern Wyoming and southern Susquehana counties.
This is a newly constructed pad the size of a city block, ready for drilling.

Looks clean as a whistle? Grass seed, landscaping, berms, wide crushed limestone roads and these pads, ready to go.
Getting here I see four men in orange and yellow vests in a double cab pickup from Texas. I notice that the right hand lane of the road going north toward Springville has regular large, deep potholes that go from the center line to the shoulder, a disaster for a car to hit at any speed. 
I begin to see white crushed rock roads leading off through fields, close by standing and running water, ponds, lakes and streams.

No comments:

Post a Comment