I am a local farmer. I’m a simple man and, like most farmers, I have a lot of common sense. Simplicity and common sense go hand in hand.
In order for my farm to operate, I must make many logical decisions. If logic is not applied to my decision-making process, I suffer the consequences.
I have to make a big decision now, and I must use common sense. I have to decide whether Marcellus and Utica shale gas drilling is a good or bad thing. Some people say it’s a good thing and others say it’s a bad thing.
Obviously, we need fuel, and we are relying on other countries to supply our needs. I don’t know how we are going to solve this problem. Shale gas drilling could probably supply us with what we need for a while, and that seems good. But what must be sacrificed to get this nonrenewable fossil fuel?
Each well-pad will require about eight acres, and I’ve been told the well-pads could be established every two miles. That’s a great deal of field and woods to sacrifice. Some say the gas companies must restore the land to the way it was before they drilled. That’s impossible. Common sense will tell you that. Fertile topsoil and mature trees cannot be replaced overnight, maybe not even in a lifetime; and that seems bad. Beauty must be sacrificed for the sake of more fossil fuel. I don’t own a lot of land, but I do enjoy the beauty of other people’s woods and fields. This simple pleasure must be sacrificed. That’s bad.
People refer to the type of drilling used in shale drilling as “fracking.” Some say it’s safe, some say it’s dangerous. I’m 59 years old and I don’t have cancer. I eat home-grown food and drink milk from my Jersey cow and pure water from my hand-dug well. My life is good.
My neighbor says that I’m stupid if I believe that fracking is unsafe. “All they use is compressed water and dish soap,” he said. I believed him. Then, I remembered at times in the past he had misinformed me; so I researched the issue to find the truth. I found out drillers force many different chemicals into the well. Some of these chemicals are known to cause cancer in people. I also learned the drilling process brings up organic carcinogens, like radon and radioactive materials. This toxic waste water is put into pits, from which some evaporates into the sky and lingers above our land. When it rains, these toxins end up in our soil. That’s bad.
I could cite other impractical aspects of hydraulic fracturing, but I have limited space. While I was writing this letter, though, I made my decision about whether Marcellus and Utica gas drilling is a good or bad thing. It’s the same decision Grandpa Beck would have made. He was a simple, practical man with a whole lot of common sense.
Steven J. Beck
West Middlesex, Pa.