Place Where You Live:

Pandora’s Box

Mountain Laurel

The first experimental natural gas well in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania is just now getting underway. The drilling has started, and soon the hydrofracturing will be underway. Once “the product” begins to flow, the gold rush is on. According to an online database of leased land, the bulk of property in formerly pristine Fairmount Township has been leased to various gas companies.
    There’s a strange sense of relief, knowing that Pandora’s proverbial box has been opened, even though I fear the pollution and industrialization that may come. Before it started, I was waking up at night struggling to figure out how to stop this from happening, knowing that once that first well produces gas, with so many landowners looking to receive royalties, the wells and their noisy, toxic accoutrement would proliferate, surrounding the beautiful streams and creeks, quiet woods and farms. In Dimock,  PA, where some private wells have exploded and others purportedly ruined, there are sixty gas wells in a nine square mile area. The well sites are  not pretty places, until they are someday reclaimed.
    The call to do something was intense. It seemed so wrong to sit idly by and do nothing. That nagging feeling of helplessness needed to be combated: tooth and nail. Lying down in front of a bulldozer was not the answer, with two young daughters to raise. How much of an impact can one make by writing to legislators? Luckily, there is a small group of concerned local people banding together to monitor the local surface water from public roads and private land near the drilling site. The companies doing the drilling are currently required to report all their own spills and accidents, but this will allow us to alert the proper authorities if and when pollution were to occur.
I love this place that I call home. The last six years have been like living in paradise. The air and water are pure, the wildlife is plentiful. The songs of birds fill the air. I hope it can stay that way. I will do what I can to protect the sanctity of this place.