Sorry Fractivists: Fracking Made Susquehanna County Even Better!

Decline Curves - Chris AckerChris Acker
Geological Engineer,
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania 



Natural gas drilling has been going strong in Susquehanna County for ten years now and the reality is we still have our rural way of life, with improvements!

Rural Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, is my home and I treasure it deeply.  With a population of only 42,000, the county sits atop one of the world’s most prolific natural gas formations – the Marcellus Shale.

Cabot Oil & Gas has invested billions of dollars here to develop this extraordinary resource.  Astoundingly, production from my county alone could supply the entire needs of France.  Cabot has been here over a decade and I am intimately familiar with the effects of the industry.

Susquehanna County

Therefore it is disheartening, and frankly, tiresome to hear folks distort the truth about the industry.  Recent nonsense on YouTube by the so-called “Tri-County Landowners Coalition” is a case in point.

In the video, a series of “community organizers” dryly read a list of horrors should Cabot be allowed entry.  They claim natural gas development would destroy the rural character of the area, contaminate water supplies, damage roads, discourage tourism and harm property values.  Moreover, methane was touted as a carcinogen although every person and animal is full of this “natural” gas.

None of these claims is true and we have ten years of reality in Susquehanna County to prove it.  The area is still happily rural, our air and water are clean, our roads are better, tourism is flourishing and property values remain elevated.

For years Cabot held an annual picnic and the last one had a turnout of 9,000 appreciative neighbors along with two protesters.  Part of this appreciation may be due to the $1.5 billion Cabot has paid to local landowners in the from of lease bonuses and royalties on production – production that will continue for decades.  To put this in perspective, $1.5 billion works out on average to $36,000 for each county inhabitant.

The reality is that Cabot and others in Susquehanna County have:

Increased truck traffic is the main downside.  However, it is not all that bad and the many benefits certainly outweigh this negative.

Susquehanna County

The Tri-County group has a scattershot list of objections.  Perhaps the umbrella concern may be the degradation of their area’s rural character.  Before Cabot came, Susquehanna County was dying.  The gas industry resurrected it.  Our area remains verdant as ever, but with renewed homes, barns, farms and businesses.  Most importantly, there is now local economic opportunity for our young.  I invite anyone from Tri-County to visit for an in-depth personal tour.  With an open mind, you may be surprised to see first-hand how the gas industry has sustained our rural way of life.

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26 thoughts on “Sorry Fractivists: Fracking Made Susquehanna County Even Better!

  1. Thanks Mr. Acker!
    However, his comments set only a baseline for the positive impact of the Marcellus development on our County. We now have air and water quality data for the watershed. It’s good news! Wildlife thrives, especially on pipeline rights of way. So many of our churches are able to strengthen their outreach. Our friends and neighbors look to a more positive future. Said less politely, there won’t be as many subdivisions of our farmland delivering lots to city/suburban types. People are saving (just ask the thriving bankers). Social services actually improve. The jobs and better economics strengthen families. The blessings natural gas development are best expressed in the thousands of individual stories telling of new found hope, security, and life quality.

  2. Chris let us know whether you lived at your house during the months of drilling and fracking and do you live there now and how regularly and how you made sure you were in Florida while the gas development occurred on your property. Why didn’t you stick around for the whole process like your neighbors had to and who couldn’t afford to have a second home out of the area.

    And how about the nuisance and impacts to your bordering neighbors who had to endure the industrial traffic day and night past their homes and properties, with the noise, dust, lights and emissions
    and the effects on your elderly neighbors, like the Pages,
    who had to see the drilling dust cover their backyard,
    their inground pool, their bushes and around their home and seep into their home and
    endure the noise of the industrial activity for many months
    and the noise of the many blow-offs of raw gases out of the pig launcher
    that exactly borders their property right behind their pool.

    How can you say there are no water impacts, when our own Pa. DEP has determined several areas in our county
    with dozens of homes with water that turned black, grey, smelly, fizzy, and not-drinkable and still have contaminated water after several years…
    We have water deliveries still for families with bad water that is verified to be impacted by gas drilling/fracking.
    How can you negate the folks in our county who are suffering still and can’t use their water wells,
    while you deposit your royalty checks in the bank.

    We still have a bunch of special 10 x 10 watersheds maintained by Cabot and their maintenance company Parrish since 2008
    and today filled with special, super-strength filtration components and filters…ordered by the DEP to help clear up the water to some level of potable use and still need bottled water for drinking.

    Cabot has over 500 DEP Violations since 2008 and still even in 2017 getting Violations with casing failures and spills impacting our water wells and aquifers, but looks like since it hasn’t happened to you, you can totally disregard these harms to the others in our county.

    Explain how gas drilling only accounts for less than 10% of our jobs and how gas drilling is less than fifth on the list of job categories in our county and that other , several business categories outrank gas drilling still to this day.

    Explain how Cabot only personally contributed 2 million to our new hospital out of total cost of 48 million and you and others leave out these details and make like Cabot is mostly responsible for the funding..and even less contributed to the new library.

    Give actual figures how many farms were saved from what , bankruptcy, auction sale in our county since 2008?

    Give actual proof that our County was dying when Cabot and others invaded our county?

    tell us how much you get in royalties per acre from the wells on your property and what percentage rate for royalties is listed on your lease?

    I’ve seen the royalty checks of many and the most I’m seeing right now is $100 per acre or less and that $100 per acre is with the rare lease that has an percentage rate of 21 % in their lease and most leases have a 12.5 % rate.
    Don’t forget to tell all about the landowner lawsuits for being short-changed in their royalty payments and that production costs have been taken out for many which further decreases their meager checks.
    I know folks with 20 acres and they get less than $100 a month.

    Don’t forget all the millions in fines and settlements Cabot has had to pay for their harms and all the lawsuits and court cases for their harms.

    Don’t forget to tell about other areas in our county besides Dimock, like Lenox and how our Superintendent of schools at Mt. View, lost his potable water since about 2012 and had water delivered for five years by Cabot and then settled in arbitration court with Cabot and got a pittance and now is under non-disclosure and gag-order like so many and can’t speak out but did before this.

    how inaccurate to say : “To put this in perspective, $1.5 billion works out on average to $36,000 for each county inhabitant” , which makes it sound so inaccurately like everyone in our county benefits monetarily, when these monies go mostly to about 10% of our county and mostly to large landowners of hundreds of acres…
    the majority in our county do not benefit from the profits.
    We have similar poverty rates in our county
    and similar numbers getting aid and we have more food banks than before gas drilling and we have hundreds that wait outside the United Methodist Church monthly waiting for their free food….!
    are you there to see the lines on the second Friday of each month and the free meals weekly at the this Methodist Church and the free meals at other churches which we did not have before gas drilling.

    Why don’t you come and help feed the needy on Wednesday and other days and hear their stories and how much they get monetarily each month from the gas industry?

    Nice to see you benefit by having the actual gas wells drilled on your property near your home that you don’t live in full-time…are you spending any of your monies to help feed and bring clean water to your neighbors who are not benefiting like you.

    We have people in Dimock who are still pumping water out of their creeks to supply their homes since their water went south and new water wells can’t be drilled in the damaged aquifers….

    Nice to ignore the problems and the toxic air emissions by the tons near our homes of 50 plus gas compressor stations…while you keep cashing your royalty checks on your 100 plus acres..

    They rebuilt many roads, which they first had to impact heavily and break down with their thousands of truck visits to their sites…

    Free picnics by Cabot can attract folks with free food for the many who need it and who are not getting the royalty checks…

    • Love the article!

      As for Vera Scroggins,
      I, Being both born and raised in Susquehanna County hate to inform you this, but you are dead wrong. The county was in economic shambles before the gas companies moved in. People had to live paycheck to paycheck and many of the small farms were closed long before I was born. The gas industry has brought much growth to the economy and helped to further diversify the county. It’s created opportunities for anyone willing to seek them. Since graduating from Blue Ridge, I have been attending college in Marietta Ohio where I am striving to obtain a bachelors of science in petroleum engineering so I may hopefully one day work in the industry back home. The opportunity to work and make a decent living was put on the table for every citizen of the county when these companies moved in. You old timers need to let go of the past and realize that frac’ing is here to stay and will ultimately be a large source of much of America’s energy for years to come.

      Rather than continue to chastize the industry, I request that you look at it from the point of view of those locals that have benefited from this great gas boom. Which I assure you is many, many more than what you are making it out to be.

    • I’m a friend of Chris Acker. He and I had a personal tour of his well pad as it was being drilled–a tour led by Cabot’s head of geology in PA. So yes, Chris did live on site, a few hundred yards away, as the wells on the pad were being drilled. Yet another Vera Scroggins lie debunked.

      • Bravo Jim… when are they going to sue Vera, God knows she’s given them lot of reason and evidence, something she lacks in her claims

  3. Ms Scroggins, you claim English literature and writing education from Hofstra University? I have never in my life seen so many run-on sentences and improperly puncuated diatribes. Terrible writing.

    • Critiquing someone’s writing on the internet is, generally speaking, horribly childish. Any thoughts on the content of her statements?

      • Without wading through that entire rant again, she wants Mr Acker to donate money from his royalties now, how much did she or anyone else aid him in property tax payments for however long? Look, I’ve had dealings with Ms Scroggins in the past, she is nothing shy of persistent yet many of her claims are proven false. I just believe if she was correct in all her horrors they should be expressed in a more correct manner. Childish? Whatever you say, I simply cannot understand what she is trying to say, wrong or right on her part.

  4. Obviously Vera you are once again pointing out useless fictions to maximize your point of view. A friend of mine whom you know well, Bryant LaTourette has a home in Florida which he spends a great deal of time at, and their is no drilling in NY so what’s your point? are you suggesting Chris not utilize his second home? Pretty selfish of you! as far as questioning a mans wealth over another’s providing him/her with more that simply is no argument?

    And how about the nuisance and impacts to your bordering neighbors who had to endure the industrial traffic day and night past their homes and properties, with the noise, dust, lights and emissions
    Vera tis nation is an industrial built nation. There are people living near industrial sites since Henry Ford invented the car and the production line. Farming is the original production site
    in this country. Look at what civilization has done in the Pocono’s! Farmers over taxed and underpaid were forced out of farming or sold small parcels of land to pay taxes and keep the farm. Developers bought up these parcels and built condos and cheap housing units. Eventually these people outnumbered the original farm owners and got themselves elected to town boards. Those people many from Westchester County decided they didn’t want to hear tractors or combines at daybreak when most farmers are working so they put in ordnances to restrict farmers to work from 9-5 and not before or after. People like you Vera who moved in from New Jersey to tell life long owners of the land they live on they cant use that land. As for the Pages, inconveniences for the betterment of all must be endured knowing that that inconvenience will be short lived.

    that exactly borders their property right behind their pool.
    How can you say there are no water impacts, when our own Pa. DEP has determined several areas in our county
    with dozens of homes with water that turned black,
    Please Vera, your 10 year old argument about polluted wells that turned black, grey, smelly, fizzy, and not-drinkable and still have contaminated water after several years…
    is BS. A conclusion that was jumped to by John Hanger and the DEP disproven by the Environmental Protection Agency, the PA-DEP itself and the testing of 161 water wells right in Dimock PA, The so called heart of drilling activity. NO contamination was caused by drilling, they even made a trip to Craig and Julie Saunter’s home to tell them in person the testing results that should have made them happy, but for the fact the dollar signs fell from Saunters vision when they realized the testing of their well and the non contaminated by drilling results, put an end to their lawsuit dreams. Oh yes they put on quite a show for your camera when they asked the EPA to drink the water and they refused, but the refusal was not because of chemicals from drilling but rather because, the EPA informed the Saunters they were drinking the fecal matter that came from their septic and got into their well, But funny is it when asked to produce that brown water from their faucet, they couldn’t,

    You claim water deliveries but fail to report those deliveries are made by your anti drilling cohorts like Craig Stevens who works to make lawyer client connections in legal actions often dismissed. What verifications do you have ? if it is the fact their is natural gas in the water or iron so what!!! that’s all over the North East even in NY where there is no drilling. Strontium and Barium are natural earth metals in our ground which also are found at high levels in the North East. NEVER NOT ONCE has fracking got into the aquifer or water well of a homeowner unless their was a very rare surface spill.

    How can you negate the farmer who fell upon this opportunity because the land that’s been in his family for generations, can now because of technology, begin to pay him back at a time when corporate farms from China are trying to kill the American Farm?
    Those 10X10 water sheds used for filtration by homeowners are in part simply because of a settlement agreement before the cause was found, In my opinion Cabot should be required to provide them because they failed to get baseline testing of area water wells before they drilled. Had they they would likely be excused from providing this service. What’s a bunch by the way Vera. I only know of 1 in the nine mile area?
    What is a special, super-strength filtration component and filters, are they out of Batman’s cave?
    I went through the list of violations Vera, 99 percent of them are for a lack of safety shoes. glasses, hearing protection etc etc etc. one for a open gasoline can in the back of a pickup. please post your list so everyone will understand by date year and place. BTW how much did Yoko Ono or Mark Ruffalo, or for that matter The Mountain Keepers, the DRBC, NYRAD or anyone even you donate to the building of the Montrose Hospital. In fact Vera how come you’re omitting all the farmers and companies who profited from drilling their donations? The truth is a lot of Charities in Susquehanna County have made out well from both companies and individuals who were able to open their wallets for the first time in a long time to share in the wealth in a county once so broke they couldn’t find the funds to plow the roads in the winter! According to the PA-Dept. of Employment, drilling and service jobs related to drilling are in the tens of thousands. Are you saying better those who found work be on government entitlements?
    Let me close with this Vera, you are a gloom and doom preacher of fear. you don’t care who you hurt as long as you can use your pulpit to express your own diatribe. you have lied to NY by promising to move here should NY ban drilling and for that I am grateful. You biggest lie to everyone on here is that you preach a life that you want us all to live by when it comes to energy but you exempt yourself from that lie. You’re not the solution to anything but rather the birther of that which is destroying the foundation of American ingenuity and the can do spirit.

    • Likely the impacts of natural gas development in Susquehanna County vary, but, with few exceptions (that make a lot of noise) the data shows that its benefits are found across economic strata, age groups, most types of land and business owners, governments and non-profits. Further, baseline data on environmental matters confirms no stream or air quality degradation, or, any groundwater contamination.
      Some would burden lessors with an extraction tax and that might slow development like the Cuomo Berlin Wall. However, benefits will keep flowing as the production heads elsewhere. No gamble, just blessings.

  5. The gas companies have brought many good changes to the area….BUT when they make a mistake they should admit to it and fix it. Accidents happen BUT when they effect a person’s home and property they need to fix it. And DEP is to protect the people not the gas companies….there is a problem with this. Want to see what could happen to you….I might be the first BUT won’t be the last. 213 Bartholomew Road Kingsley Pa. Lenox Township Where no one cares as long as its NOT them….

    • Sheila aren’t you the one who claims to have sinkholes in your driveway and twisted barn beams caused by fracking ?? Your problem sounds more like coal mine subsidence.

      • Sinkholes in my driveway…the roofs are twisting on my pole barn and home.. The one wall on the building has sunk 3 inches.Piers under my home are tipped. Two hemlock trees,in my yard are sinking into the ground. 25.9 mg of sodium in my well water. DEP has told me they could be woodchuck holes to the grounds just settling to my late husband buried tree stumps. NONE of which is true. Susquehanna County in NOT coal mine area. Google Frac Out. I think it’s ashame that deep pockets can get anyone to cover for their mistakes. Sad thing is this is my home and all I have left of my late husband and NO ONE cares cause it’s not them. My neighbor and the township are covering for them too…. It’s not just me. I just got the worse of it….all I want is for it to be fixed. Again this is my home.

          • The molding in my kitchen in overlapping the ceiling at each end of my home is cracked And other issues but DEP told me it is because I put an addition on…this is what is ca using the damage to my home. Really? How many other people have put additions on and had this occur?

  6. Mr. Acker, while I’m generally pro-gas industry in Susq County your remarks are incredibly one-sided and easily construed as patronizing by those who don’t share your sentiments.

  7. The drilling has effected my water and I can prove it. I have a baseline test done by Cabot. NO gases then…BUT THERE IS NOW Plus I have sodium in my water…. but hey drink it anyway….you can get high blood pressure then. What’s it doing to me as I shower everyday in it? Who cares…it’s not them. The ground is falling in….my grandchildren can’t play in my yard…No big deal…it’s not effecting them. Find an Attorney…Good luck.

    • At what point, Sheila, did you stop being one of the very few (certainly compared to the number that joined me in proudly signing with SWN and specifically not Cabot) Cabot-DEFENDERS that I’ve known of as far east as yours and my part of the county?

  8. Tom all I want is my property fixed. I want to drink my water again and let my grandchildren play in my yard. I want to go to sleep at night and not have to worry if I’m safe to be living in my own home. I want to know in 5 or 10 years I’m not gonna be dying because I showered in my water. I’m tired of all the ridiculous excuses and lies. All over money….well I wonder if it was them WHAT THEY WOULD DO?

    • Lawyers don’t like to take lawsuits that they know they would lose. Your claims are frivolous. Drilling and fracking doesn’t cause sink holes, barn beams to twist or moldings inside of houses to crack.

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