Wayne County Landowner
Member of Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance
Betty Sutliff writes a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf reminding him of a landowners meeting held with the Governor and how far he’s strayed from what he told them.
September 8, 2017
The Honorable Tom Wolf
Governor of Pennsylvania
225 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Re: DRBC Plans to Ban Fracking
Dear Governor Wolf:
On February 2, 2015, I mailed a letter to you regarding statements you made in your inaugural address. Wanting to hold your feet to the fire, I challenged you to a meeting with the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance executive team and the Wayne County Commissioners. With Senator Lisa Baker also in attendance, we met with you on June 8th. A follow up thank you letter, including a summary of the three key points discussed at the meeting, was sent to you on June 11th. The following shows a comparison of excerpts of my initial letter, including quotes from your inaugural address, and the key points in the summary of our meeting.
Initial letter: In your address, you mentioned the abundant natural resources present in Pennsylvania, and gas was the first item in the list. You said, “To fulfill our potential, we must take full and responsible advantage of these resources.”
Post meeting summary: We need to explore the benefits a severance tax would provide to all Pennsylvanians, as long as all Pennsylvanians, including those who are located within the DRBC, are guaranteed the right to develop their minerals.
Initial letter: You said that Pennsylvania “has to offer a level playing field making sure all (emphasis added) businesses, all (emphasis added) Pennsylvanians, have a chance to get ahead” and that “all (emphasis added) of Pennsylvania’s families deserve the same (emphasis added) opportunities.”
Post meeting summary: Although Wayne County is, as shown by the map of leased land, predominantly in favor of natural gas exploration and production, it has been denied the opportunity that every other county with viable natural gas has been granted. (Note: A map of leased land in Wayne County was presented to you that day. The map indicated that the vast majority of landowners in Wayne County were leased.)
Initial letter: Yet, here in Wayne County, we have been denied just that. You talked about fairness, but what is fair about denying the families and landowners the right to harvest the natural resource that is below the ground here? Does “all” not include residents of Wayne County because they reside in a different watershed? You talked about good paying jobs and education that prepares students for those jobs. Lackawanna Junior College is preparing students for work in the natural gas industry with nearly 100% placement. However, to access those opportunities, young adults from Wayne County must look to neighboring counties.
Post meeting summary: The DRBC has not been operating with the same efficiency and effectiveness as the SRBC. In light of the report from the EPA saying there is no evidence of widespread or systemic contamination of groundwater as a result of hydraulic-fracturing, there is no reason for further delay in passing the regulations.
Initial letter: Your stated goal is “to put the interests of our hardworking families ahead (emphasis added) of the special interests.” As you said, let’s be “willing to listen to each other . . . and learn from each other . . . and work together to give all (emphasis added) Pennsylvanians a shot at a great life.”
Initial letter: You stated, “ . . . when we’ve looked to our leaders for answers, we’ve been disappointed and frustrated to the point where we feel very cynical about our government and our future” and, “Our experience has made us cynical . . .”
In spite of what you, Governor Wolf, said in your inaugural address and at our meeting, it is obvious that you are putting special interest groups ahead of hardworking families in Pennsylvania, denying them a shot at a great life. Thus, I remain
Betty Sutliff, Executive Committee
Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance