Fracking comes at a cost

Published Feb 27, 2013 at 12:31 pm (Updated Feb 27, 2013 at 12:31 pm)

This letter is in response to the letter entitled “Range cooperates with region” that was in The Almanac on Feb. 13.

While some are benefiting from the drilling, there are many others who are fighting for basic fundamental rights, like clean air and water. Some farmers are regretting their decision to sell their gas rights and others are leaving the area altogether.

I received a very concerning email last week from a farmer who operates an organic farm north of Pittsburgh. A portion of the email is as follows:

“Hello Friends —

The last 10 years have been an exciting journey for me. Serving you has given me the opportunity to learn more about food and health, support local agriculture, and, most importantly, become a farmer myself. But my time in Western PA is coming to an end. Fracking is coming to our farm and the rest of the region in a big way. In the next year or two, a well will be fracked uphill and upstream of our farm. In addition, within a few miles of us they will be building a new gas fired power plant, a cryogenic concentrator station and a very large gas pipeline. The air and water pollution generated by these activities is incompatible with an organic farm, and, most importantly for me, I am unwilling to expose my children to these risks. Sometime later this spring or summer, I will be moving to Oregon with my children to start a new farm in a fracking-free region.”

I am saddened to see this farmer leave PA and I wonder if others will follow in the coming months and years.

I read an article recently in a national publication that I receive entitled, “Fractured Land, Fractured Lives.” The farmer and family live in a community just north of Pittsburgh. Here are some excerpts from the article:

“I wanted to believe that this could be a good thing for land owners in these tough economic times, but the more I researched this process, the more I have become convinced that this process is not only polluting the air and water, but it is also destroying communities. Neighbor against neighbor, family against family, all in the name of the almighty dollar.”

“Other farmers have dead or dying cows, goats, chickens and horses that are unknowingly drinking contaminated water or breathing toxic fumes.”

“One dairy farmer has stopped drinking the milk from their own cows. Their water well is contaminated with chemicals associated with the fracking industry and they are now forced to purchase water, which is delivered each week and stored in a water buffalo outside their house. The gas company has denied any responsibility.”

Mr. Cannon, is this cooperation with our region? With all due respect, please spare me and all the other wise folks who see beyond the propaganda and all of the public relations tactics. There is no doubt that you are “cooperating” in some ways with the communities but at what expense? The fact is that we are going to reap what we sow. The future for Pennsylvanians was much brighter before the rape and pillage of our land began a few years ago. You came into our state without prior consent and blindsided everyone. It is time to stand united and fight for our families and our farmers!

Melissa Richardson

Peters Township resident

Fracking comes at a cost

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