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Journal Pages

RETROSPECTIVE (2008 to mid 2011)

The Invasion Begins

Seismic Testing

Truck Traffic and Road Damage

Drilling Begins on My Neighbor's Land

Spring 2011

Summer 2011

 

CURRENT

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January-February 2012

March-April 2012

May-June 2012

October -December 2012

January - August 2013

Ponderings from Pandora's Box

Chloe Kelly's Journal of Living with Unconventional Gas Drilling

JAN 2013
 
Jan 07: Chesapeake continues to deny responsibility and DEP lacks the resources (or the will) to investigate the source of methane migration in nearby drinking water wells
 
To date the gas company denies any causation -- the DEP monitors our water but doesn't have the funds to study our water in terms of where the methane originates from, so we are stuck with what the gas company claims, which is that it's "naturally occuring". ie they are not responsible.
 
Houses over the hill from us are now spewing methane in the water - the gas company has pointed at an old well dug in the 50's as the culprit. So now it's up to DEP to prove that it's not the cause. AND, worst of all, the gas company continues to drill-baby-drill throughout this township.
 
Every day now, I am hearing the on-going sounds of the back up beeps of company vehicles while they install the pipelines through the fields that are within walking distance from here. It's getting harder and harder to find hay for my horses because the gas companies are tearing up the fields to lay pipes and pads and build water impoundments , and the farmers need what hay they can bale for their cows. Same with buying straw. The gas companies are buying it all up because they use it on their pads.
 
We don't drink our water as it continues to be significantly contaminated with methane (roiling and fizzing like soda and spurting as it comes out of the faucets with enough pressure to make me jump)  - but my pets have to drink it. So far the methane dissipates out, and my pets look fine BUT.... we're always anticipating that moment when it worsens. Then what?
 
Jan 14: David Bohlander could be me speaking
 
I hope you will take the time to view this interview with David Bohlander. It's all sadly true - and breaking my heart each and every day since 2010.
 
And what really gets to me is the lack of protest by the people in the area - they remain intentionally unconscious and will even - to my amazement - change the topic(!) when I mention that my tap water is methane-saturated.
 
 The only reason why I haven't closed shop and moved (where? drilling and destroying the environment to satisfy corporate greed is becoming all pervasive) is because they have cut back the drilling significantly (70%?) since their initial invasion. 
 
 
APRIL 2013
 
April 24: Chesapeake notifies us of plans to deepen well on neighbor's land
 
This week we received a certified mail envelope from Chesapeake notifying us that they are about to drill deeper, and I presume frack, on the well pad that is nearest to us. Thankfully, the map illustrating the path of the "deviated well bore"  shows it running in the direction that goes away from our homestead... Not that that is much to celebrate.
 
I imagine it means that soon there will be increased truck traffic and noise that fills the sky while they drill deeper to toxify the earth beneath us.
 
Our methane problem continues still. We turn on the faucets each day to loud spurts of methane coming out of our water supply. The spurts are sometimes so loud and sudden that it makes me jump; so forceful that when I turn on the hose to water our horses outside, I have to latch the hose to something to keep it from being pushed backward out of the tub. As of March 3rd, we have dealt with this issue for a year. We have learned to live with it, bath in it, water the pets with it, haul our own drinking water,  and pray daily that it won't get so bad that we can no longer live here. The gas company contends that this has always been the case, that methane in our water is naturally caused and somehow, in the 20 years prior to their arrival, we simply didn't notice the opacity, spurting and furious bubbling of our faucet water.
 
If you're tired of hearing me repeat this "naturally occuring" bullshit mantra, it's because I still can not get over the fact that without heavy pressure, they refuse to take any responsibility for what they are creating, and our local politicians are clearly on their side.
 
Some houses just down the hill below the same pad are now dealing with methane contamination to the extent that they have towering vents to release the pressure. When this first came to light, the gas company pointed at an old gas well that had been drilled locally in the 50's as the culprit. 70 years later, it just suddenly started to spurt methane into our water table! imagine that.  So it was filled (I'm guessing with tax payers' monies, since DEP was in charge of that) last year with no change in the amount of methane contamination going on down the hill from the pad! That's their "play" though, to point at anything else as the cause and then say: prove it isn't.
 
Over the winter and into this spring, we have listened to the distant surround-sound noise of pipelines being laid through the fields and watched the incredibly massive and surreal ground-eating equipment as it worked its way closer to the pad nearest us. Gratefully, again, the noises have stopped this week, and I am drinking up the sounds and smells and wondrous birthing senses of spring, knowing that  each day could easily be the last time that I can indulge in this intrinsic birthright joy because the industry is beathing down our necks again.
 
I chose to live deep in the country because I love the earth and all her gifts. To be surrounded by such destructive forces, and, even when they aren't drilling and digging near me, to know that somewhere the plans are being laid to continue the onslaught, creates a deep seated stress that I've dealt with now since 2010 when they first invaded Sullivan County - the raped Gem of the Endless Mountains.
 
I now live in a bubble that is an illusion of country. Country as I know it is dying. It's being killed off in the name of progress, in the name of greed, in the name of waste, in the name of power.
 
Shame on us.
 
 
AUGUST 2013
 
August 18: Why I've been quiet for a while
 
If you've noticed that I've been very quiet lately, it's not because I'm less horrified at what's happening all over the United States as the gas industry digs ever deeper into our resources. On the contrary, I've become so saturated and overwhelmed with my intimate awareness of the onslaught that I've had to create some distance in order to feel real again.
 
Around my home, all has finally  (after 2 years of industrial banging, clanging and toxifying) quieted down. They have run off to Ohio to rape and pillage there, and we are on a back burner for the time being. I have used this down time to attempt to regroup my sanity. I doubt I'll ever come back to the joyful being I was before their invasion though. I've lost my innocence.
 
With the link up of the wells to the pipelines around here, the presence of methane in our water (and in the neighborhood wells) has lessened. The bubblling, boiling and spurting that was the norm for us all winter has subsided, and though our water continues to come out of the faucet opaque, some days it actually looks almost normal. What a coincidence, eh, since the gas company informed us that the intensified methane was merely "naturally occurring".
 
This month, both the DEP and the gas company were here to take more water samples. The DEP will be doing their first isotopic analysis on our water as in the past they allowed the gas company's testing to conclude the methane did not originated from drilling activities.  I'm not clear on why both agencies showed up within a week of each other without my personal request. They both say they're just keeping tabs, collecting data.
 
So, in another 5 weeks, I'll be privy to the results. It's visually clear that there's a decrease in methane for the moment. But in the winter of 2011/2012, our water also cleared up to normal and just 2 weeks after an industry test verified that our water was free of methane - in surged the most intense methane we'd experienced.  
It just makes me crazy when I see the gas companies touting that the methane/burning water theme is overstated...their deceptions run deep. (and I recommend watching the movie "The Promised Land" to get an idea of how deep. )

Copyright 2011-2013 Newield-PAUSE (People Advocating the Use of Sustainable Energy)

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