by Alex Lotorto
Thank you for everyone who so graciously gave already to our IndieGoGo fundraiser! It means a lot to receive support from so many of my friends and people across the country. In addition to directing you to our updated calendar and our Facebook page for sharing, I wanted to point out an article in the New York Times this week about my hometown area in Pike County. The piece depicts what kind of businesses in tourism and recreation we have that we risk losing forever if our reputation is an industrial wasteland because of shale gas development.
It’s not in the article, but in the initial land grab for shale acreage, Chesapeake Energy had a gas drilling lease on a private hunting grounds in the center of Promised Land State Park (orange shaded area), where the New York Times reporter enjoyed himself. The land was never developed because residents organized in 2011 to keep the Delaware River Basin Commission from opening the area up for more than exploratory drilling. Also, being surrounded by a state park, it was a place that could only be drilled economically if the park was also leased.
Well, it just so happens, that this week Governor Tom Corbett announced that he wants to follow in former Governor Ed Rendell’s footsteps and open even more state forest lands and state parks to fracking and related operations. Promised Land is likely to remain pristine due to the geology of the shale being thinner and the lack of a pipeline nearby to pipe the gas away, but at one point it was in the sights of the drillers. It just plain pisses me off that Chesapeake picked that place for fracking.
Growing up, my family’s income was landscaping, tourist-y shops, and realty commissions. As for Promised Land, or Lackawaxen Township, which neighbors the reporter’s visit to Hawley (my thumb in the picture right), the drillers saw no value in that land beyond the shale underneath.
My pinky on the green dotted line is where the Tennessee Pipeline right of way runs down to Milford, our county seat. From there, the Columbia Pipeline takes the fracked gas to Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in Lusby, MD. The Milford Compressor Station we’re fighting will increase pressure and gas delivery to Cove Point: www.nomilfordcompressor.org.
Please share our IndieGoGo page so Energy Justice Summer can help get northeast Pennsylvania on track organizing our way out of this mess.