People that no one is helping
Cindy wants to get the word out about what is happening in her area. She’s tried Anderson Cooper, Good Morning American, and Erin Brockovich, to no avail. “We are people that no one is helping,” said Cindy. “We were the guinea pigs.”
Drilling has been going on in Marshlands near Gaines, PA for at least two years. Cindy will not lease, even though Ultra has been by twice. But a guy named Bergey owns thousands of acres there, and the majority of wells drilled so far are on his land. “He’s made $6 million off leases in Gaines,” said Cindy. “Our property values have gone to crap.”
Her husband was a Navy Seal in Vietnam. He fought for the U.S., and in the process got doused with Agent Orange, damaging his lungs. He still suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.
“It was his dream to live out here,” said Cindy. “He came here for peace. For health, a piece of mind, and beauty.”
But it’s been anything but peaceful lately. Some neighbors have signed leases for drilling, and others haven’t, “setting people against people,” said Cindy.
The truck traffic has been relentless and occurs around the clock. Tensions between residents and industry workers has been escalating, with the only roads to some residences closed or impassable for weeks at a time.
Herman Gilbert, who residents describe as a hermit, snapped after his road was closed for three weeks. He tried to drive over the fabric that workers were covering with gravel. Instead, he injured both of them.
Other rural neighbors are getting fed up in ways that out-of-state workers may not comprehend, said Cindy’s son Sean. These people were born in the area and will probably never leave. “That valley is their world,” he said. “They’ve only got their piece of land, and they feel like the world’s forgot them.”
“This is where I live. This is where my family chose to make a home” said Sean. “My parents suffered hardships to get the American Dream–their home–and because somebody wants to make a lot of money, it’s getting trampled on.”
“We have been so content here,” said Cindy. “We have future plans here. I wanted to start a business. But who’s going to drive here now?”