As a former resident of the city of Butler, I applaud those residents who recently spoke out to Butler City Council about their concerns regarding the city’s plans to drill and frack for natural gas under Memorial Park (“Drilling concerns raised,” Feb. 28, page 1).
As impressed as I am with these residents, I am amazed at the naivete of Butler City Councilwoman Cheri Scott, who told the concerned residents that, if a company expresses interest in drilling under the park, a meeting would be held to address their concerns and that Dick Landowners Group, which is marketing the land for the city, would be there “to present the most accurate information.”
Oh yes, I’m sure they will present the most accurate information. I’m sure they will talk about the 161 documented cases of shale gas drilling causing well-water contamination that are listed in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s database. I’m sure they will mention the $2.5 million in fines levied against drillers by the DEP in the past year. (local driller XTO Energy was among the companies paying the largest fines last year, according to StateImpact PA.)
The multitude of airborne toxins and carcinogens emitted by gas wells, pipelines, processing plants and compressor stations will be high on Dick Landowners’ list of things to discuss with the city, I’m sure. And the eerily similar symptoms and illnesses being experienced by residents of the shale fields from Wyoming to Texas to Pennsylvania? You can bet that Dick Landowners Group will be as concerned about that issue as the most concerned city resident, if not more so. Right.
Seriously, folks, Dick Landowners Group will present whatever “accurate information” is necessary to make the sale. And I’m sure the city council will demand that residents accept whatever information is dispensed as healing balm for their concerns about drilling and fracking.
As a recent letter to the Eagle so truthfully asserted, it’s all about the almighty fracking dollar here in Butler County.