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Published: April 9, 2014 print this article Print save this article Save email this article Email ENLARGE TEXT increase font decrease font

Nobody really knows

What exactly is environmental terrorism?
I live a half-mile from Moraine State Park. I was surprised when a landman from XTO Energy appeared at my door asking me to sign a lease permitting hydraulic fracking under my property. I was shocked to discover many of my neighbors had already signed.
I knew little about fracking and expected the XTO representative to appear at our scheduled appointment with extensive information. Instead, he appeared with one piece of paper: a lease. He also blamed previous safety and environmental problems associated with fracking on “environmental terrorists” bent on destroying the industry by vandalizing drilling operations.
I realized I need more information before signing a lease.
After many hours of research, I discovered that Pennsylvania has become the guinea pig of the world. With 3,000 to 5,000 wells per year planned for the next 30 years, we could eventually have at least one well per square mile. Many states, including New York, are waiting to see what effects the fracking of Pennsylvania will have on our environment and health before they proceed because no one knows.
This is my biggest concern with the gas rush. I realize we need natural gas, and Pennsylvania needs jobs. I just believe we need to move slowly, especially near schools, residential areas and parks. Drilling in our state is moving at a furious pace, and we have no idea how this large concentration of wells will affect our water and air quality over the next five, 10 or 20 years. More importantly, despite their claims, the gas industry doesn’t know either because drilling of this magnitude has never occurred on the East Coast.
Many residents of Franklin Township moved here because of its beauty, peace and quiet, and proximity to Moraine State Park. I fear the qualities that brought many here are the very ones that will be destroyed by a desire for financial gain. How much will your property be worth then?
In 15 years, if your grandchildren ask why you helped pollute this beautiful area, don’t say you didn’t know what would happen. “I didn’t know” is not an excuse for signing a lease. It’s the reason not to.

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Connie Fleeger
Franklin Township
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