RETROSPECTIVE (2008 to mid 2011)
Ponderings from Pandora's Box
Chloe Kelly's Journal of Living with Unconventional Gas Drilling
Our water is finally back to normal – or is it?
In July 2011, I finally declared our water to be methane-free. What we had experienced for the last year had apparently been a "common flash of methane" according to a county agricultural agent I consulted. He told me, “It is possible you experienced a common flash of methane… followed by diminishing levels over time. There is a period of time during the vertical drilling process when free gas is encountered… A window of opportunity for gas to migrate then occurs before the casing and cement is in place but once it is, migration may fall off. This is the current thinking…” It took an entire year for this “migration” to “fall off” – not much of a “flash” to me, but I was feeling celebratory none-the-less.
So we began to drink our water again. I can’t describe how freeing it is to be able to use water from the faucet after having to pour water from bottles every time one wants to drink or cook anything. But I only got to enjoy this freedom for a brief “flash” of time because after about a month of drinking our faucet water, I noticed that the gums in the back of my mouth were becoming swollen and sensitive. I was concerned but stubbornly continued to drink the water, and then I noticed that my mouth felt as though a cotton swab had been run through it after drinking a glass of water. I also noticed that my four kittens were drinking water voraciously each day, and I wondered if they weren’t experiencing dry mouth as well. Each day the swelling in my gums got worse, and finally I realized that if it got any more sensitive, I wouldn’t be able to eat. So I stopped drinking the water. Within hours of making this choice, my gums began to feel better. Gradually, over a week’s time, they returned to normal. Needless to say, since then, we have returned to carting water, and now we have expanded our watering needs to cover those of our pets. The kittens returned to drinking water in a normal fashion when I made the change.
Walking the cornfields
On July 9, 2011, I decided to take a walk over to the field where I observed the brown matter being sprayed in August 2009. The area in question is a corn field this year. I noticed that there were broad swaths of ground where the corn was not growing, instead there was field grass. In some places where the corn did manage to take root, ithe plants were much smaller than in the surrounding field. The corn did not look like it would ever grow to maturity, and the colors were washed out. I walked below and above the area where I had witnessed the cloud plume and in those areas, the corn was growing normally.
You may ask why I haven’t been watching this field since I first witnessed the questionable activity 2 years prior. All I can respond is that when one is invaded in such a rapid manner and with no prior knowledge of what is coming, it takes time to gather the courage to confront it. One just wants to not think about it; one hopes not to be directly affected; one thinks that one’s feelings are a fear reaction with no sound basis in fact ... rationalization after rationalization is set in motion as a internal barricade against such a painful reality. But the reality just keeps seeping in, undeniable, until a choice must be made: give up or speak out. In the name of my ancestors and the future of Pennsylvania, I choose the latter.
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Copyright 2011-2012 Newield-PAUSE (People Advocating the Use of Sustainable Energy)