Dear Hometown on the North Coast,

The blessings of life in Erie County, PA lie in the abundant natural resources. 

We face new economic opportunities through resource extraction. This is not the first time these opportunities presented themselves to us. Back in the 80’s, we also had a heyday for these resources. At that time, a well was drilled not far from my grandmother’s home. She had little notice. What happened next was maddening and brought 8 years of inconvenience. Her well water was fouled with what was likely from the gas well next door. She sought advice from an attorney and was discouraged from taking any action due to the fact her well was not pre-tested and the energy companies had deep legal resources. She carried her water for 8 years from town to her home. She transported her laundry every week to the laundromat because the water would ruin the clothes.

Fracking in the different geological shale formations is very new. There are risks. The risks to a community like North East and other farming communities are significant. The fluids used in the fracking process are generally not disclosed. Some of these substances may be dangerous to humans, animals, and other life. As you weigh the options as a landowners, supervisors, politicians, etc; take the time to realize the risks must be fully understood and managed. We would never want to be labeled as an area with tainted soil or water. The economic consequences to our primary crops and wildlife would be devastating. Please take the time to do thoughtful research. Think about the drinking water not only from wells, but also for the greater community. Drive to Bradford or Hickory where residents’ wells became contaminated after decades of trouble-free lives.

I am not against the acquisition of energy resources. There will be a continued need for many years and for long-term sustainable energy from a national security perspective. Please do thoughtful research and be prepared to be accountable. There is risk to health and welfare if the pursuit is unsafe. There is no undo button for these actions. Please watch films like Gasland, Toxic Soup and Fuel with an open mind. We all love the North Coast for all of the wonderful natural resources and what they provide to us.

“May we never be sorry for our decisions or misdoings as the remembering them would bring us great grief and their burden may be intolerable.”

John McGrath

North East landowner; Resident of Shepherdstown, WV

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