Susquehanna County Landowners Cheer the County’s Good Fortune

think about energyRick Hiduk
Managing Editor of


Susquehanna County landowners Edwin and Helen Mead have witnessed a renaissance as natural gas has helped them save their homestead and others prosper.

Landowners Edwin and Helen Mead credit the natural gas industry for helping them keep their Bridgewater Township, Susquehanna County homestead and providing them enhanced opportunities. While they’ll admit they were growing weary of the hard work associated with maintaining a farm, their decision to retire in 2010 was primarily a monetary one.

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“The farms were basically idle. It was a losing proposition,” Edwin remembers. “Farming was already a dying industry by that time. Whereas you used to have 30 or 40 dairy farms, you had one or two, maybe.”

He and his neighbors were facing the prospect of selling off their lands to the lowest bidders just to keep their homes. Edwin and others along the northern tier had long supplemented their incomes with work at businesses just over the border in New York, but the factories there had begun shutting down too.

When the Landman from Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation came knocking, they were ready to listen, even though friends and family living in other gas regions of the country warned them to be wary. It was a Cabot Landman, however, who explained to the Meads how things might be different in Susquehanna County and made them more comfortable with the proposition.

“One of them told me that this area was unique compared to where he had worked in the midwest in that people here own their land and the gas rights,” Edwin related. Mineral rights had been bought up as long as a century ago in Texas, Oklahoma and other oil-rich states, he learned. “Out there, a few got rich, and the rest of them just lived with it. Here, everybody gets to share a little.”

Drilling on the Meads’ property started in 2013, resulting in three active wells in the first round. Their relatives in the vicinity shared similar experiences. In the past year, Cabot has returned to start six new wells on the Meads’ land.

Edwin and Helen admit that they may be somewhat unique in their fascination with the processes. Their retirement afforded them the time to take an active interest in how their land was being reshaped in preparation for the extraction of the valuable resource over which they’d toiled for so many years.

“Cabot did a beautiful job building the pad. I loved meeting the people and enjoyed having them there,” Helen recalled. “I love baking, so I would take them zucchini bread.” The workers also expressed to the Meads how much they enjoyed working in the area, the culture, and the friendliness of the people.

They also agreed that Cabot’s transparency was comforting. “When you asked a question, they would answer. That’s the important thing,” Edwin stated. “They’ve always been upfront with us.” Equally important to the Meads was how the investments by the gas companies started paying off for the landowners.

“There are a number of people and cases that we know of for whom the royalties have helped them get through some difficult times. With the gas money, they were able to keep going,” said Edwin. While the farms remain inactive in the sense of being used for livestock or crops, the Meads are satisfied that their land maintains a production value. In addition to helping to keep the taxes on their properties paid, Edwin says that the royalties have assisted people in paying medical bills and takes the place of pensions that were all but nonexistent in the existing workforce. There were also many new good-paying positions to be filled.

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“It was nice to know that people who didn’t have jobs had somehow found employment through the gas industry,” Helen noted. “It made their lives a lot easier. I think it has helped a lot of people.”

“A lot of the jobs are through subcontractors who hire a lot of local people to do the physical work,” Edwin added.

Helen feels that the overall economy in Susquehanna County was legitimately depressed prior to the arrival of the gas companies. “When Cabot came in…Boy, it was really blooming around here,” said Helen. “It seemed that people were happier, and businesses were benefiting from it.”

Additionally, Susquehanna County got a new medical facility, and municipalities have been able to upgrade infrastructure without burdening taxpayers.

“The new hospital is a modern facility in a rural area. They have a lot of equipment they never had before,” Edwin related. “Act 13 money has gone to the county and townships, who have purchased equipment and improved their buildings.” The latter is a reference to the annual disbursements by the state’s Public Utility Commission of taxes – aka “impact tax” – collected from gas companies doing business in the region.

The Meads admit that it sometimes makes them laugh when people outside the area make assumptions about what it must be like to live in active gas fields.

“A lot of it doesn’t match what we are seeing here,” Edwin said of the often derisive rhetoric. “Is it because of the different companies? Who knows.”

“I think that they are surprised to hear how accommodating they are,” added Helen, noting that Cabot’s employees and their subcontractors are respectful of where they park their vehicles, and the movers of heavy equipment and water are patient with and courteous to the Meads and their neighbors.

The entire experience has been largely positive for the Meads, but they are most satisfied with the good fortune that the natural gas industry has brought to the county. “A lot of people went from rock bottom to a normal type of living,” Helen stated. “I wish everybody could have that.”

Reprinted with permission from Well Said Cabot.

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13 thoughts on “Susquehanna County Landowners Cheer the County’s Good Fortune

  1. Do they share their wealth with the community and how?
    They have about nine gas wells on their property and must be getting a lot of royalties…
    Their situation is unusual and a small percentage have this many wells and such high producing wells.
    Most of the residents have a tiny piece of the pie or none.
    Meads have hundreds of acres.

    And the traffic, noise, lights, dust disturbed their neighbors so they could develop their land.

    • Not a scintilla of evidence to support your position. What else is new? In NY we would have had ad valorem taxes that would go directly to the town which contained drill pads. I would imagine the same in PA. However, landowners with gas wells SPEND that money on new vehicles, houses, barns, appliances, etc. You’re angry because why? If where you live in PA is so devastated by gas drilling, why are you still there?

  2. And the Meads admit there are much less food-producing farms left.

    Now they produce gas
    and we can eat and drink gas!!

    Gas didn’t save the farms…
    Gas replaced the farms with industrial, toxic sites..

    • Do you have any idea how boring and tiresome your unsupported assertions are to normal readers, Vera. If you want to make points support them with facts or don’t make them. I’m always happy to publish alternative views but I’m not going to keep publishing this drivel. Make a supported point or don’t comment at all.

  3. Land Advocates of NY is educating in the NYC area and beyond to these types of good fortune testimonials, and to the pigs to rigs scams that were once romantic tools of the anti gas liars caught up in truth at the Montrose Court House. Those very activist who lied to the public and were paid by Ruffalo and his Food and Water Watch to do so are now turning on one another like unfed caged lions in a forgotten circus

  4. Sad that some folks are so uncaring of the well being of some others that they will say anything to besmirch their motives, manner of living and their livelihood.

  5. Vera:

    “Do they share their wealth with the community and how?”

    Taxes, maybe? Or is that too obviously good for the community?

    And the US small farms were under sever economic pressure long before natural gas development via hydraulic fracturing came along.

    Another one of your nonsensical claims: “Gas replaced the farms with industrial, toxic sites..”

    Try this on for size, Vera:

    “Researchers from Pennsylvania State University, using a new testing protocol that uses existing, affordable water chemistry tests, have tested 20,751 water well samples from wells located near high levels of both conventional and shale oil and gas drilling in PA. The tests show whether or not existing/naturally occurring methane is in the water well, or whether methane from nearby drilling is present in the water. Know what they found? Out of 20,751 samples, they found 17 wells (0.08%, less than one-tenth of a single percent) showed “possible signs of methane contamination.” Statistically speaking, it’s zero.

    You read that right. Independent researchers using a grants from the National Science Foundation and U.S. Geological Survey found virtually NO water contamination from drilling and fracking wells in PA. Statistically nil. Don’t look for mainstream media to cover this research study.”

    Results were published in the peer reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology.

  6. I’m sure there neighbors got a piece of the pie as well; if there in the 600 or so acre pool ;they received a pretty healthy check for leasing plus any royalties. And cabot probably fixed the roads to make suitable for rig traffic by paving and making wider.

  7. Why didn’t Penn State test near all the areas that DEP found contamination after gas drilling and it’s just not methane that is the problem. heavy metals, radioactivity, etc. ?

    Ask my fellow residents who have water changes’s throughout my county….

    Ask for the total fines paid to DEP and the total settlements paid out by the gas industry….and do a study of that…

    Ask why gag orders exist…and why we need total transparency .

    And yes, Debbie, Vic calls any of us who promote water and air contamination, liars…..

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