As Farming Died, Our Little Towns Died, Too; Then There Was Shale Gas

think about energyRick Hiduk
Managing Editor of


Susquehanna County resident Dale Howell relates how shale gas has changed everything for the better in this rural area as the shale revolution has delivered.

As part of our “Looking Back Moving Forward” series, we feature four new video interviews with Susquehanna County landowner, Dale Howell, as he talks about his positive experience working with Cabot, royalty benefits, road maintenance, and the industry’s effect on local wildlife and hunting.

You may remember hearing from him and his success working with Cabot earlier in our series (reposted below), but make sure to refresh your memory and watch the newest series of footage.

Dale Howell lives in Springville, Susquehanna County. He was raised on a farm in nearby Wyoming County and moved back to Susquehanna County to purchase land in Auburn Township. In recent decades, he was watching farms shutting down one after another.

“As farming died, all the little towns died too,” Dale noted. Factories were moving out of the area, leaving a few struggling timber operations and stone quarries in their wake. Jobs were getting scarce, and the few that were left were no paying living wages.

“Then the gas people came, and things started booming again,” said Dale. He’s grateful for the change at a time that he sensed the local economy was on the verge of collapse. Not only does Dale have relatives who work directly with the gas companies, he’s seen other companies modify their services and product lines to establish lucrative relationships in support of the gas industry.


As a landowner with four gas wells on his property, Dale and his family have benefited greatly from the royalty payments. “I’ve been able to do a lot of things that I wasn’t able to do without it,” he related, citing helping his sons pay off the mortgages on their homes as an example. “As long as the royalties keep coming, I’ll be able to help more people.”

Dale maintains that all of his dealings with Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation have been positive. While everyone may not derive the same benefits from the industry being in the area, he has a big-picture perspective of the business and what natural gas has done for the community.


“Our roads are one of the biggest improvements they have made. The road past my property was no more than a cow path,” Dale recalled. “Now, it’s a superhighway.”

No doubt, when the big rigs first rolled into the countryside, there was dust and there were ruts. But Cabot worked with municipalities and Pennsylvania’s highway department to find the best solution to the problem.

“We’ve all learned a lot about how to build roads,” Dale remarked, including how to establish better bases and proper drainage.

Hunting is another element of country living that Dale insists has improved since the initial impact has given way to riparian buffers and the restoration of vegetation that was promised. Before the arrival of the gas companies, he noted, the under storage in the forests was gone, and the population of white-tailed deer and other wildlife was on the decline. After the areas around the gas pads and the right-of-ways were reseeded, Dale stated, “The deer came back. I think the deer herd is bigger than it was before.”

“I’ve had nothing but good experiences,” Dale said in summary of his relationship with Cabot and other companies working in the local gas fields. “They’ve treated me and my property with respect, and that’s very important to me.”

Reposted, with permission, from Well Said Cabot.

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5 thoughts on “As Farming Died, Our Little Towns Died, Too; Then There Was Shale Gas

  1. Not convincing at all.
    One elderly man giving his perspective with no corroboration from local, government sources.
    I asked publically our County Commissioners about farming and roads and
    they admitted farms keep deceasing since gas and the roads are bad and nothing to crow about since gas .
    What road is he on?
    If it’s a super highway, does that mean loads of gas industry trucks?
    I’d like to view his road.

    Check out Cabot-used State Route 3023 and you will see a shocking, awful-condition road …in Dimock..

    And don’t forget our 55% children poverty rate in the Dimock schools despite having the highest rate of gas wells…

    Nice try with finding this one guy praising Cabot out of thousands of residents in our County ….

  2. Vera, try providing some references or citations so that folks can fact-check what you put on line.

    Otherwise you are not convincing at all. One elderly woman giving her perspective with no collaboration from local, government sources.

  3. Shame we don’t all have a positive opinion of them. Shame they don’t always properly conduct themselves/honor their lease & there is apparently nothing a homeowner can do about it.

  4. Shame on the companies that take advantage of the property owner. But thank goodness for the dividends that have saved many farms and homes.

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