Pennsylvania residents blocked by gas company from entering their own property
David and Linda Headley moved into their home in Smithfield, PA in 2006. Shortly thereafter, Atlas Energy began drilling and fracking on their land. The results have been a nightmare.
Their water has been contaminated. The stream on their property can be set on fire. Their horses have gotten sick and one has gone partially blind. Their dog had to be rescued from a sludge pond on their property. The family has experienced illness.
They have been fighting for their land and fighting with the industry ever since the companies first showed up on their land, but their struggle now has reached a new level of absurdity.
The company has now locked the gate that crosses the only usable driveway onto the Headleys’ property. The gate which had previously given access to both the Headleys and the industry is now locked with a chain that only provides room for one padlock, the industry’s.
Susan Kelly, who covered the story for the Herald Standard, reported the chain of events leading up to this as follows:
When the Atlas workers came by to conduct the most recent blowdown, Dave Headley said he went over to tell them to stop.
His 4-year-old son was outside in the yard, and his 17-year-old son was about 100 feet away, chopping wood, he said. Dave Headley said he received no warning or advisement that the blowdown was about to occur.
“If it was your children, you wouldn’t let them play in it either,” Dave Headley said he told the workers.
A state police trooper visited later to tell Dave Headley not to harass the workers, and not long after that, the Atlas workers came back to put a lock the gate, Dave Headley said. This time, however, there was only one break in the chain — for the Atlas lock — and there was no way for the Headleys to put their own lock on the chain as they had in the past, he said.
As Linda Headley stated at the PA Harmed by Fracking press conference this past January, the Headleys are one of many PA residents who have been ignored, lied to, or dismissed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). They are also being ignored by workers on their own property. David’s attempts to talk to workers about the locked gate were futile.
What am I supposed to do if I need to get in here?”
That’s the question Dave Headley asked a worker from Atlas Resource Partners, the company who owns a deep Marcellus shale gas well on his property. The worker, Headley said, secured the gate at the end of the driveway leading to the Headleys’ house with a padlock wrapped in barbed wire.
He got no response from the man on the other side of the gate.