Stephanie Hallowich speaks out

Stephanie gestures to the scenic view next to June's home, an unused tractor in the foreground and new wells in the background. Ninety wells have been drilled in Stephanie's township, with at least 170 more on the way.

“It’s completely divided our community,” said Stephanie about the Marcellus development in her area. 

Places that should feel safe, don’t anymore. 

It started with two break in attempts. Stephanie suspects the workers, most of whom are transient, not from the community or the state, and who spend enough time on the property to know her family’s routine. 

Stephanie has installed security cameras.

Even though no drilling is happening right now, every day she sees workers from several companies who travel the new road near her house to inspect, operate, and maintain the well pads, impoundment pond, and transmission stations. 

She can’t necessarily turn to her neighbors. In fact, it was her neighbor who signed the drilling lease on the property before selling it to Stephanie. The neighbor has continued to lease acres next to Stephanie’s property to drilling companies for more treatment facilities. 

Her home doesn’t shelter her from the venting gases that waft up the hill. And contaminants, known and unknown have entered her home and her body. She, her husband, and her children drank the contaminated water from their well for a year and a half before they found out it contained heavy metals and VOCs. They only got it tested after their dogs got sick. 

And even though home no longer feels safe, it’s hard to find shelter elsewhere. “Our whole community revolves around the church,” Stephanie said. “People yell at me when I go there now.” They see Stephanie drawing attention to her problems as a threat to their interests, since many people expect great royalty checks when their properties are drilled. 

Stephanie gets a royalty check, but it’s not enough. In fact, it doesn’t even pay for bottled water. “I’ve had to go back to work just to pay for water,” Stephanie said. 

I highly recommend you listen to Stephanie tell her own story: 

14 comments on “Stephanie Hallowich speaks out”

  1. horrible; dangerous to our health ; needs to be stopped ; thanks, for speaking out and being the “squeaky wheel”–I am one, too, and our local, group in Susquehanna
    County, Pa. — Citizens for Clean Water

  2. This was my first exposure to what it is like to live next to one of these multiple drilling sites. Everybody who thinks that signing a lease is “easy money” should stop and think about what their quality of life will be like afterwards, and, more importantly, the quality of life of their children and everybody who lives there in the future.

    • The industry shows a lot of videos about getting the gas out of the ground. They leave out the part about how much it takes to get it to market, as well as the fact that they then drill and frack repeatedly.

  3. the gas industry likes to leave out important parts of their insane process– if we know all the details from the beginning , we’d be out there like a killing mob and kick their asses all the way back to Texas.

    • these are local jobs in pa not texas, kick your own ass for wantind to take jobs away from your neighbors

  4. My heart goes out to you, Stephanie. We live next door in south central New York where so many people have leased their land to Norse Energy and other companies. I have retired from teaching in NYC to a nightmare. Leash laws in town for dogs, tickets for speeders, emissions checks for cars and free rein for corporations. Yahoooooo!

    Has anyone started a class action suit against gas companies?

  5. yes, we need a class-action suit and many more; here in Pa. in Dimock, there is a lawsuit from the firm Alan Fuchsberg in NYC for 17 families that lost their well water after gas drilling and their peace of mind and clean air ; it’s a nightmare
    and we need the FEDS to come in and stop it.

  6. Stephanie,
    Thank you so much for the information. The experiences you and most of Pa residents are going through is a result of how government doesn’t care about the people. The only thing that will help stop the collateral, catastrophic damage is if the people rise up. New Yorkers will help you. You and folks like Victoria Switzer, Keith Olburg and yourself along with all the folks on YOU TUBE displaying the damages, have helped us to educate New Yorkers of what will take place if we don’t stop it at the border. Gov. Rendell should show some guts and immediately enact a moratorium on drilling for a min. of 1 year. All applications for permits should be withheld and damages assessed in all areas of concern.
    I am speaking tonight in Elmira, NY. We are trying to help Pennsylvanians and ourselves from further damage by speaking out at a hearing for the Chemung County Landfill which we have learned only weeks ago, has been taking shale fragments from Pa. drilling and burying them in our local landfill. If we can stop them from taking the shale from Pa. it may help you to stop the damage there. If they don’t have a place to put the radioactive, heavy metal laidened shale they’re sending to NY what will they do with it?
    Can you help by giving information to New Yorkers about the shale being taken out of PA, where it is going and how is it transported?
    I have such sympathy for every Pennsylvanian touched by this industry in such a negative and unhealthy way and the worst thing is is that we don’t even need that gas to begin with. We don’t need a bridge fuel we need an uprising of New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians together, are you willing to work on this with me?
    I want to sincerely thank you for being one of New Yorks “Paul Reveres” in letting us know in no uncertain terms the damage that will happen to us just as it has you and others in many states. The gas companies are counting on people not listening and talking about this issue that will define our future. I often speak of Pennsylvania and how it was the only state that could rival the beauty and peaceful feeling of New York. Let’s work together to make sure that some of Pa. will remain untouched by the foreign vampires of our time.
    Joanne Cipolla-Dennis

  7. drill through their asses to get the gases

  8. How do we start a class action suit? The same thing is happening to me in Frenchville, PA, which is in the Susquehanna River watershed. There are going to be thousands of these wells contaminating the air we breath and the water we drink. What happens when all of the states underground water is ruined? You can’t reverse it. I remember when the west branch of the river was devoid of any life for a hundred miles because of the run off from coal mines. The river is back and alive again and they are going to do it all over again. This time it could be irreversible!

  9. It’s incredible to me how many people are just freaking out about this. These are the same people that will be crying when gas goes back up to $5 per gallon. No gas, no oil, no coal, no nuclear. Hydro power floods the land and destroys animal habitats. Wind power kills birds and blocks people’s view. Solar shades the deserts and detroys animal habitats. Grow up people! You’re not going to be able to have your nice suburban home if there’s no power to run it and no jobs to pay for it. We are sitting on the Saudi Arabia of natural gas and you people are crying because they have to squirt water into the ground to get it out.
    Just go ahead and sue the crap out of them. Destroy another industry and then whine about how there are no jobs.

    • Yes, Nate. Let’s talk about how wonderful it has been for the Saudi people to live above one of the most oil-rich regions of the world, and yet see little benefit from it while having to deal with all of the collateral damage.

      I think people who are concerned about this process have legitimate worries, and to dismiss them as whiners is to miss the fundamental point. We can live without natural gas, but living without free speech, clean water or clean air is a problem.

  10. […] I was fortunate enough to meet Stephanie earlier this year while visiting and touring Ron Gulla’s farm in Washington County, PA. We stopped by Stephanie’s home and I was horrified by the smell first off and the close proximity of  dehydrator tanks and a compression station, not to mention the wells…all within a 100 yards or less of her home. I couldn’t imagine being her family or having children trying to play in their backyard near this industry. You can find out more about Stephanie and her family at the above article from National Geographic or check out Faces of Frackland. […]

  11. Phony, through and through….thats all I have to say

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