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Published: May 16, 2014 print this article Print save this article Save email this article Email ENLARGE TEXT increase font decrease font

Risk and reward

My home is directly across the road from the Clair Cratty Marcellus Shale well site in Franklin Township. The lives of my household will be directly impacted, especially in the short term. Of that I have no doubt.
Yet, I find no fault with Mr. Cratty or his decision. First and foremost is his right as a taxpaying landowner to do as he pleases with his property, within the confines of regulation. Second, he and his family have worked and cared for that land for multiple generations and I know that they view this as an economic way forward. Third, life has taught me that it is foolish to try to stand against a wave. The best one can do is to dive under and try to come out on the other side. Marcellus Shale drilling is that wave.
I view this as a matter of risk and reward. It’s a part of life. If you never take a risk on love, you will be left without it. If you never risk failure, you will never succeed. If you never take a risk for a better job, you will be stuck in the same one forever.
Are there risks associated with fracking? Absolutely. To the spring-fed water supply at my family’s farm, I believe the risk of disruption — not necessarily contamination — is real and great. To the condition of our peaceful rural road, there is a proven risk of damage. Finally, there is a fair risk that my peaceful sleep will be at risk in the short term, while drilling is under way.
Most of the other risks that have been thrown about are overinflated, nonexistent, or trying to be affiliated with individuals’ personal issues.
The rewards are obvious. Money for cash-strapped farmers to pay their taxes, make improvements, purchase new equipment and think about a future where grandchildren and great-grandchildren might be able to hold onto family land.
Let us not forget the gobs of money the oil companies are investing in wells and transmission lines, providing employment and filling our hotels, campgrounds, and restaurants with workers.
Finally, there will be tax money from the royalties collected by landowners. I believe gas and oil companies should be paying tax as well — call your legislator!
The final reward of this to me is that because the wellwill likely be pumping gas beyond my lifetime, there will never be a Wal-Mart, a mobile home park, or a landfill across the road from my home.
Lastly, to my dear neighbors who are near hysteria because of these risks, real, perceived, or manipulated. Take action. Do what you are free to do, and do it now. Put a For Sale sign in the front yard and move out of the Marcellus Shale region. Your homes are beautiful, few are within sight of the well, and should command a good price.




Sharon Courtney Hickok
Franklin Township
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