Faces of Fracking: Meet the Headleys
We have a spring two hundred feet from our house which is now so rich with gas it can be set on fire. Sadly, doctor visits have become commonplace. Our four year old son, Adam, has mysterious stomach issues that cripple him with pain…
The New York Times reported on some aspects of the Headley family’s pollution problems from gas drilling in June, as did we. Now it’s time to present a fuller picture of the multidimensional devastation this family from Fayette County, in southwestern Pennsylvania, has suffered, and continues to suffer.
After you read it, don’t become immobilized. Speak truth to power. Make your activist to-do list at the same time, including get on the bus to head to Stop the Frack Attack in Washington, D.C. this coming Saturday and blocking off Thursday, September 20th for Philadelphia’s “Shale Gas Outrage 2012,” along with your own days of action inbetween. Call your legislators, state and federal, to demand a moratorium on horizontal hydrofracking now, along with immediate closure of the Halliburton Loophole and a complete ban on open fracking flowback impoundments and flaring.
Thanks to Dana Dolney, interviewer, documentary photographer, writer and activist, we have the Headleys’ story:
Headley Family Photo credit: Stephanie Strasberg
“It’s already too late for us.” That is what Linda Headley said to me, the last time I saw her. I looked around and saw her beautiful family and once beautiful landscape and realized that she was right. There was little to nothing that could be done to change their situation, other than getting the DEP to do the job it should have but hadn’t done. Shining the light of media on the situation should help with that.
It is what Linda said after that inspired me to share their struggle, publicly. She said, “But if we can help other people not make the same mistakes that we did, then that is what we want to do. I bet there are a lot of other people out there like us, that are or were afraid to speak out. Now, we just want people to know the truth.”
Well, that is something that I CAN do and do well: get the truth out. SO, SHARE AND SHARE WIDELY FOR THE HEADLEYS SAKE!
Seven years ago the Headleys bought their dream property. They intended to live and work the land, in semi retirement, to leave a legacy for their sons. Now this is their story. So, where is their Range Resource commercial? Cue corny, folksy music, read and watch.
Our names are David & Linda Headley. We have been residents of Fayette County for 28 years. We have owned our current residence for seven years. Since then, the natural gas industry has stolen our land, polluted our streams, polluted our air, made our family and animals ill, and disrupted our our peaceful way of life.
Our rural community in Springhill township before the natural gas boom invaded was quiet, serene, safe, picturesque small town America, situated along the Monongahela and Cheat rivers, nestled in the foothills of the glorious Allegheny mountains. Life here was quiet. This was a beautiful place to live and raise our family, far from the bustle of the city, rich with country charm and character. That was before the drilling.
We first noticed the gas activity when bulldozers invaded our hayfields to build access roads to wellpads. It began only about 6 weeks after we signed on the land, having bought it with the mineral rights, but without the oil and gas rights. Since coal mining was the issue around here and there had been little to no gas activity left in the area, we were made not to worry about the potential for development, and moved ahead with plans to build our dream home. This was before anyone knew the name Marcellus. Yet, in 7 years time the man who owns the rights has put 4 shallow wells, one Marcellus well, and a pipeline across the property. We had no idea they could do this to us or the land.
The truck traffic is constant. Land damages were of course immediate. Trucks, noise, dust, nomadic workers followed. Then came the polluting of our air and water, then deforestation and the destruction of fruit trees. They even managed to burn 10 acres of ground with a brush fire set with used motor oil from a bulldozer’s oil change ! Every hour, once an hour it sounds like a landing jet visits our once quiet farm as wells ” sell “.
Then come the transmission pipelines – – -more nomadic workers and thousands of gallons of drilling chemicals in our beautiful, trout – stocked stream! We have even had multiple leaking wells for over a year, ignored by the operators, and now we have a spring 200 ft. from our house which is now so rich with gas it can be set on fire. Sadly, doctor visits have become common place. Our 4 year old son, Adam, has mysterious stomach issues that cripple him with pain; we do not have any answers, yet, but we are worried sick.
And why? All because of an uncaring, dirty industry, driven by greed, selling their souls, leaving our health, environment, and rights behind as waste.
When will this nightmare end ???
Dozens of neighbors and communities in whole have suffered. One next door neighbor’s well was contaminated. They had to get municipal water after the industry denied responsibility. We know of at least 3 families having serious health problems; they have had to seek legal assistance. Increased loads on rural roads have lead to numerous accidents / incidents. Crime in area has increased.
Our experience with our local and state officials and the DEP has been mostly not caring, not responding, or denial. Those who do care usually express feelings of helplessness or frustration. Most say the industry lobbying and money is hard to fight against. Others admit that they are now called the DEP for Don’t Expect Protection and there in lies the truth.
Our once peaceful existence has forever changed. This industry is a loose canon; get a handle on it. Add layers of protection for all our people. Regulate, and hold the industry accountable. Please slow the acceleration of this industry. Safe extraction and concern for the environment is a must ! If we could put a man on the moon 40 years ago, we can find a better, safer, healthier way to fuel our future and our children’s future.
We have many photos, videos, water and soil samples, air samples are pending. Its too late for us. But we are willing to share anything that may help someone else. You can read more about our story and see other photos below:
NEW YOK TIMES STORY
TRIBUNE REVIEW STORY
If you would like to know more about how the Headleys were removed from their land at gun point based on trumped up charges, or for an in depth tour of the land, the violations, the burning water, the selling of the well, and the story of the dog stuck in the frack pit straight from Linda’s mouth, then WATCH THIS: