I grew up in the hippy age, an age of demonstrations, some peaceful, some not so much. Even though I witnessed some of these demonstrations or the aftermath of some not so peaceful, I never participated in one.
Tonight as a senior citizen, that changed. The companies that are trying to force the fracked gas pipeline through our region are holding federally mandated “Open Houses” to feed more of their rhetoric down the throats of the landowners whose property will be despoiled by the installation of this 42″ pipeline, if the pipeline company gets all of the permits it will need. One of the companies involved has criminal charges against it in Pennsylvania for dumping or improper disposal of toxic waste byproducts. Neither of these two companies that are hiding under an LLC have ever built a 42″ pipeline and not through karst topography in the mountains. Each of these Open Houses is being held in a county affected and in each case, the county has tried to organize an anti Open House against the pipeline. Tonight, the Open House was in the next county and they picked a site where there was no room for the opposing meeting, so the opposers advertised to their involved residents and to the adjacent counties opposition groups to come out during rush hour and demonstrate on the side of the highway in front of the venue, beginning an hour before their Open House was to start and continuing well into the dark. We had 8 and 10 foot banners, a 10 foot long mock up of a 42 inch pipeline with a banner on it’s side, hand drawn signs and some of the printed signs that most of us have posted on our property. We waved signs and held a peaceful demonstration right near the entrance to the venue until well after the meeting was underway. It was cold, brutally cold and windy out there, especially as the sun set. There were far fewer demonstrators than we had hoped, but it was poorly advertised and as I said, it was cold. The counties are unanimously opposed to this proposed pipeline. The pipeline builder will be taking land and right of ways by eminent domain for their personal gain. This pipeline will not benefit the landowners, will not provide jobs, will not benefit the businesses in our counties, but will put us at risk, will threaten our groundwater, will damage or destroy 3 caves near us that are home to bats, including albino bats, will threaten 2 historical covered bridges and threaten or destroy several historical homes. We wish more had come out, but we did have media coverage and were told that more opposing public had gone in to the Open House. We heard that there was to be a peaceful “Sit In” during the last half hour of the Open House, however, we had to leave before it all broke up for the night. Our hope is that this profit making company will give up due to the opposition, the sensitive nature of the area they are trying to traverse, or due to the falling crude oil prices. Perhaps more states will follow New York’s lead and prevent fracking in their state for health and safety reasons.