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Wellsboro Tioga County feels the boom and the concern

February 16, 2011

Many residents of Pennsylvania’s Tioga County are caught between embracing and opposing the industrialization and exploitation of their land by the natural gas companies.

Gas drilling protestors staged a vigil outside historic Penn Wells Hotel

There are memories of the destruction wrought by the oil boom not far to the Northwest starting in the late 1800’s, which brought with it both opportunity and ruin.  Landowners are collecting leasing royalties.  Local business are collecting on an influx of out of state workers.  Some think it’s their salvation. But there are many who also worry about the industry destroying this rural landscape.  An example of these environmental concerns being the January 17th spill which spewed fracking wastewater when workers lost control of a Marcellus shale drilling rig in the Tioga State Forest.  Many residents are being pushed out of the realty market.  Many tourists can no longer find lodging or the serenity once held in this landscape now overrun by drill rigs and 24/7 truck traffic and compressor stations.

Drill rig, a part of the industrial invasion of Tioga County by gas well drilling. There are lots of cabins around here - their property values are shot.

There are concerns over the fact that almost all of the land in Tioga county has been leased to Royal Dutch Shell and “there could be a 3-acre well pad every square mile” once drilling is done according to Earle Robbins, a former Penn State Cooperative Extension agent who is now a consultant to landowners in Tioga County.

A current map of gas exploration in Tioga County.

Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon and it's Pine Creek Gorge are at significant risk

One Comment
  1. Jessica permalink
    January 31, 2012 8:31 pm

    What upsets me the most is the fact that the commonwealth of PA has leased our State Game Lands to gas companies. They are drilling on land designated and reserved for the public. There are two obvious problems with this. First, who is getting the check for this? If this land is designated for the public, then shouldn’t we all get a cut? Second, this land is protected and designated for people to hunt, fish, etc. It can no longer be used for this; and I certianly didn’t give them permission to take this away from me. Where am I going to take my kids to hunt and fish when they get older? I have four close friends that work for three different energy companies in Tioga County. Each one has told me the same thing, that they have heard or learned through their employer that this area will be “ruined” very soon. It’s amazing what greed does to people. My husband’s father has over 400 acres in Potter County which has been in his family for over 4 generations. When a check was placed in front of him for over a million dollars for the lease of his land he kicked them off his property. He is a poor farmer and could use the money, but he, unlike others, has a a sense of stewardship. What would his Great Great Great Grandfather say to him if he leased the land he farmed and worked so hard on his whole life? I wish there were more people like him around here! And I certianly wish there were more people like this in positions of power that leased OUR state lands!

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