Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Ready or not, here it comes

I’ve posted on occasion about the impending gas drilling near my home. It’s been in neighboring townships for several years. There have been whispers and speculation about when it would show up here. In the summer of 2010, we signed a lease agreement with Range Resources, but that didn’t mean they’d actually DO anything.

Then they purchased my neighbor’s farm. We received letters regarding water testing because they MIGHT drill somewhere nearby. They came out and tested our well, our creek, and our spring.

Note: I could have gone merrily along my way for quite some time without knowing what was actually in my well water. Reading that report was like reading the list of ingredients on your favorite junk food. You really don’t want to know what’s in there.

Anyhow, there’s been a lot of activity happening on the hill behind my house. I can’t see anything from here, but I can hear the big machinery. I don’t know what they were doing the other night, but I was sitting in my office listening to a distant thump thump thump, as if Big Foot were hiking across our hillside.

From certain vantage points along the road, you can see the mound of dirt they’ve moved, as well as the massive trucks and dozers. Something is definitely going on up there.

On Monday, it became official. A man from Range knocked at my door. He was notifying everyone within a certain distance of the new well site, that drilling was indeed imminent. He had to confirm contact numbers. In case of an emergency, someone will call us immediately.

Oh, goody.

He gave me a folder containing a letter describing what was about to happen and what we could expect to see (increased truck traffic…Meanwhile, I can hardly get across the road to pick up my mail NOW) and several pieces of informative literature about natural gas and what’s in the stuff they’re going to pump into the ground, etc, etc, etc. And if we have any other questions, he gave me a card.

I’ve stated before that I’m on the fence about this. I’m definitely looking forward to royalty checks. But I’ve hated to see our rural area die. There used to be cattle and horses everywhere. I used to wake up each morning to the bawling of cows calling to their youngsters. I used to mark the coming of spring by the increasing numbers of romping calves in the fields surrounding my house.

Now the farmers have all sold off their livestock. There are still several active horse farms within a mile radius, but not within sight of my windows. The landscape is void of animal life.

And now it’s about to become industrial.

That bothers me.

But there’s no going back. Moving isn’t exactly an option. Where would I go? The entire region is being drilled.

So I’m resigned to sit back and see what happens. Roll with the tide. Hope my water well isn’t made even WORSE as a result of the gas well just over the hill. And hope the royalty money is worth the aggravation. 


Joyce Tremel said...

If you can believe their commercials, when they're finished drilling, they leave the land better than they found it. Hopefully it's true and not a load of BS.

Annette said...

Joyce, there was a lot of mention of that in the literature they gave me, too. From what I've seen around here, it's true.

I hope they get the bulk of the noisy work done before the weather warms. I can hear the machinery with my windows closed. I suspect it could get pretty loud with the windows OPEN.

Fred Connors said...

Thanks for sharing a slice of your life. Very interesting.

Mary Sutton said...

I hope it's true for your sake, Annette. I'm partial to rural landscape myself. I'd rather sit and watch cows & horses through the window than drills!

Patg said...

One of those slices of life where the nick of the knife is always a possibility. If they do leave it as was, maybe some animals will come back.

Annette said...

Pat, I doubt the animals come back. Range Resources now own the one farm. I'm not sure why the other neighbor sold all his stock, but I suspect it was because his kids didn't want to continue farming. The times, they are a'changing.

Mary, thanks to the woods behind our house, I won't be able to see anything except the drilling rig while it's there. But I do miss looking out at livestock.

My word verification is poute. Is that what I'm doing????

Cheryl Elaine Williams said...

Very insightful piece on change. Hopefully all will go well. Please keep us updated!

C.L. Phillips said...


Keep an eye on your well water. Drilling means changes, and water quality is one area where you don't want to be surprised.

Best o' luck.

Nancy Martin said...

Annette, you know I grew up in coal country. I mean---serious strip mining with appalling sites left behind. But the state required reclamation, and now---okay 50 years after the mines were first dug--you really, really can't see where the mines were. And there are horse farms.

We also had a shallow gas well on our property when I lived in Indiana County. About 50 yards from our front door. Once a year, the company came to re-frack the well, and it was awful. Loud, smelly, really bad. For one day. Water wasn't affected.

So . . . be patient. Be vigilant. Those would be my suggestions.