Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"From the very start we were followed by gas security people": how the gas industry harasses and intimidates us into silence

Active Dehydrator, PGE, Tract 293, Pad G, HuntleyRd.
Tiadaghton State Forest, Lycoming County, PA
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

UPDATE: For photographs of the trees marked for conversion to stumps, please see:

The Birth of a New PGE Frack Pad is Death Row for Trees - an album on Flickr.

UPDATE: For photographs of the trees post conversion, as well as the decimation of state game lands 75, Tiadaghton, please see: 

Taking down the forest one tree--or a hundred--at a time: Tiadaghton State Forest, PA - an album on Flickr

UPDATE: I now have permission to share with my readers the name of the gentleman whose words follow my brief introduction: Bob Deering. Bob's story has been profiled before--but I think his own words capture something more intimate and invaluable about what's happening in the "shalefields," a polite word for our forests, our farms, our homes. 

The following is a first-hand example of how the gas industry is allowed by the state to behave effectively like an invading army--and how citizens in the path of the gas wells live under what can only be described as martial law

We might be tempted to think that stories like this are exaggerated, embellished, or even fiction. 

But this is a first hand account of a private property owner living out his life on his own land--surrounded by gas wells and fracking infrastructure operated by Pennsylvania General Energy in Tiadaghton State Forest, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania--what one DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) agent called Tiadaghton Industrial Park.

I have not altered the written description in any way, nor have I deleted or added anything to it. I took the photographs on 6.22.14.

"This is a description of events that occurred on June 18, 2014. 

I was ask to give an interview from NPR/WITF about how gas drilling has affected my quality of life since its inception 7 years ago. I began by giving a short site tour of an area to the rear of our property.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee
From the very start we were followed by gas security people. As we proceeded out a state forest road--School House Road--we were approached by a guard vehicle that had been following us. he ask what we were doing, our names, and then proceeded to take a picture of my vehicle and another picture of my license plate. He then told us we were not allowed to take pictures of any well pads and mentioned this incident would have to be reported. At this point I made a cell phone call to the DCNR office to clarify what I was allowed to do and where I was allowed to walk; unfortunately I had to speak to a voice mail system and was told I'd be called back.

We turned around and stopped at a construction site where a new pond and a compressor site is to be placed; one of the people with me mentioned: we have company again. We had a security car in front of us on School House Road. another parked in front of us on Okome Road. he ask me whether I thought they were trying to block us in.
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee
We were totally off either road that would obstruct traffic flow. The guard cars just sat there and watched us, as we moved, they moved, we stopped they stopped, until we left and they followed us until I turned onto the road to our house. 

At what point is this type of activity harassment of the public. I am tired of being followed like I am a criminal, I'm tired of telling the guards every day where I'm going on the roads. These people were originally only placed to prevent traffic flow problems when an OVERSIZED GAS COMPANY truck was using the road.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

Now they have taken total control of all traffic flow no matter what type of vehicles are using the roads. This is not an issue totally with the security people, they work for PGE.

After returning the people doing the interview I proceeded to the DCNR office since I didn't get a return phone call. I spoke with a forestry person that explained to me that I did nothing wrong and where I was allowed to go and the incident would be taken care of...After that visit I returned towards home, when I got to the intersection before my home, another guard approached me and ask how things were going and then proceeded to tell me why I was being followed. he said it was for my own safety from any truck drivers or gas well personnel. 

I disagree with that answer; if that is the case why don't they follow every vehicle that uses the road. If it is the answer they have some very severe personnel issues to deal with.

I do not believe this is going to be the end of this issue.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee


The more I think about the circumstances, the madder I am getting. I wish I would have been accepted as a candidate for the PEDF hearing in harrisburg. To me it was an embarrassing situation.

Typed while I still remember the conditions.

Pa code part 18 section 2709 Harassment:

a)  Offense defined.--A person commits the crime of harassment when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another, the person:
(1)  strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects the other person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same;

(2)  follows the other person in or about a public place or places;

(3)  engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which serve no legitimate purpose;

(4)  communicates to or about such other person any lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings or caricatures;

(5)  communicates repeatedly in an anonymous manner;

(6)  communicates repeatedly at extremely inconvenient hours; or

(7)  communicates repeatedly in a manner other than 

specified in paragraphs (4), (5) and (6).

Harassment. Intimidation. Silencing.

There are, however, really two issues here:

1. The liquidation of Tiadaghton State Forest by PGE.

2. The repressive jackboot tactics utilized with the blessing of the state by the gas industry.

Under such conditions, none are free. 

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

Under such conditions, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, are effectively criminalized.

When did the gas companies take over? When did they gain the right--in the name of safety--to tell me what to do? 

Can anyone really "stop the job at any time"?

Only when we, the citizens, become brave enough to take seriously the promise of democracy.

The gas companies are counting on us to remain cowards.

They count on us to be pacified by the hollow promise of "regulations," "best practices" and perhaps a severance tax. A tax, of course, is just a gift to the frackers--it legitimates and institutionalizes the industry by making social programs and education dependent on the revenue. So--they're even liars when they feign opposition to taxation.
State Gameland 75, Tiadaghton
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee
Note the deer fencing--to protect the forest from the deer.

My new friend, who generously gave me his words, may not agree with me here. I don't know. What I do know is that his quality of life--his very way of life--has been sorely compromised, and without justification.

Message to PGE: I am a citizen. These are public roads. I have a camera. You have no right whatever to stop me, harass me, intimidate me. And I have every right--indeed
responsibility--to record and expose what you are doing to my fellows, and the polluted wasteland you're making of the air and water upon which we all depend.
Tiadaghton State Forest
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee
Taken while detained with Bloomberg reporter Isaac Arnsdorf
for 15 minutes--on a public road.

My rights are not dictated by your profit margins.

For the complete set of pictures, please see: 

For my own experience of intimidation, in this case, by police who may as well be the gas company's own bought jackboots, please see:

Tiadaghton State Forest--now a NO TRESPASSING zone.
Lycoming County, PA
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

For another piece similar to this one, please see: http://preservethebeartoothfront.com/2014/03/25/a-personal-story-bob-deering-pennsylvania-our-dream-has-become-a-nightmare/

Wendy Lynne Lee

1 comment:

Vera said...

I was followed by Cabot Security in my county, Susquehanna , for a 1 and 1/2 years and followed wherever Cabot has leased lands and told not to step on any of their leased lands; and photos taken of me and of my car and of others with me. I am on public roads and this is their treatment of citizens who look at, document with cameras the industrialization of our neighborhoods. The Security have to keep their jobs and make sure they're necessary and needed, so they go over and beyond the call of duty, and violate our civil rights...