In 1930, my greatgrandparents purchased a beautiful farm in Bradford County, PA, in a little hamlet called French Azilum. In the summer, we spent time there, resting, breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the wild flowers, the bright stars and planets on a clear moonlit night, and swimming in the Susquehanna River. If gas drilling is allowed to continue, Bradford County and all of Pennsylvania will be forever changed, ruined beyond repair.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Natural Gas Drilling: Bradford County (PA) Courthouse Has Unwelcome Carnival Atmosphere
The Rotunda at Towanda County Courthouse
[Photo: The Towanda Daily Review]
Even Commissioner Doug McLinko, a staunch supporter of gas drilling in Bradford County (PA), is drawing the line. The three commissioners of the county have had to clamp down on unacceptable behavior at the courthouse in Towanda, the county seat. It seems that as many as 80 people are descending on the courthouse rotunda daily to search for information on gas leases and properties on which leases will be signed. Nothing wrong with these people except they seem to have gotten the idea that they are entitled to make themselves at home to the detriment of the normal courthouse activities. They are monopolizing the tables in the rotunda area, eating their fast food lunches, playing loud music on computers, and watching movies. The county has had to hire another custodian to help clean up the mess in bathrooms and even scrape food off the floor at night. The commissioners tried to talk to representatives of Chesapeake Energy and Talisman, but to little effect. Finally Mark Smith, head commissioner, took things into his own hands and removed some of tables, leaving room for only 42 people. Rules of use were put at each table. It seems the people doing the gas drilling work had forgotten they are indeed guests there. The local people are beginning to resent the intrusion of the gas industry even at the courthouse. The crumpling roads and long lines at the coffee shops are other reminders that "they are not in Kansas anymore." It is now almost impossible to even find a motel room available, not even for social services who need spaces for the homeless. The drillers have commandeered every last room. Perhaps that problem will be alleviated when dormitories are built to house these men, a plan which is in the works.
When will life return to normal for the residents of Bradford County? Sadly, the answer is probably never.