Monday, July 9, 2012

Protesters shut down shale-gas well in Pennsylvania

Three protesters were arrested yesterday at a natural gas drilling site in Moshannon State Forest in Clearfield County, Pa after their demonstration shut down site operations.
A Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry patrolman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that between 40 and 70 protesters arrived at the state forest sometime between 4 and 8 a.m. Sunday, pulled downed trees and other scattered material from the forest and placed them in about 30 piles along road leading to the site of a nearby natural gas well.

The Pocono Record reported today that the EQT Corporation's natural gas drilling rig was just being commissioned. Protesters said it had gone up in the last week.

Gloria Forouzan of Marcellus Protest claimed that 150 demonstrators had blocked an access road for trucks headed to the EQT rig.

One of the protesters, 25-year-old Alex Lotorto of Pike County, said two activists were sitting 75 feet in the air on a tree platform that had been connected to a cable stretched across the access road. If a truck or machine were to cross the cable and cut through it, the tree sitters would fall, Lotorto said.

"Unfortunately, this is the extent we have to go to," said Lotorto, who has lived in rural Pennsylvania since birth. He blamed energy companies for pushing hydraulic fracturing in unwilling communities in the Marcellus Shale region, a gas-rich rock formation thousands of feet underground in large parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Lotorto said the new rig and fracking process was spoiling the forest, a treasure for the local economy. He said the protesters wouldn't leave until EQT took the rig away.

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