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Issue Home October 27, 2010 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Cabot Will Pay The Bill

The Department of Environmental Protection recently announced a permanent solution to the drinking water problems in Dimock caused by gas migration from Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. wells. DEP was forced to take action since Cabot continues to deny responsibility for the contamination, despite overwhelming evidence of its responsibility. Since that announcement was made, Cabot has launched a public relations campaign and much misinformation has been brought forth concerning who will be party to that solution and who will end up paying for it.

Cabot is responsible for the gas migration that has caused families to be without a permanent water supply for nearly 2 years and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will seek court orders to make Cabot pay for all costs. But we cannot wait for Cabot to fix the problems it caused and to do the right thing. In the interim state funds from Pennvest, an agency that finances water and sewer infrastructure projects, will initially pay the estimated $11.8 million cost for Pennsylvania American Water Company to construct a new, 5.5-mile water main from its Lake Montrose treatment plant to provide water service to the residents of Dimock. Again, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will then aggressively seek to recover the cost of the project from Cabot.

No one in Dimock or Susquehanna County will pay for it and local taxes will not be increased as the result of it. Residents along Rt. 29 will have the option to tap into the line if they so choose. No one will be forced to hook up to the new public water supply. The new water line will also boost the value of homes and businesses near it.

This action is being taken based on overwhelming evidence that proves the Cabot wells are the source of the contamination. DEP has collected ample evidence tying methane found in private water supplies to Cabot’s wells. We’ve witnessed and chronicled bubbling gas and high pressure readings from a number of wells that prove poor well construction, and taken readings that show excessive gas levels that could only exist in wells that are leaking. Sophisticated testing has “fingerprinted” gas samples and matched the gas found in five homes to the gas leaking from the nearby Cabot wells. Additionally, the gas wells in many cases are less than a thousand feet from the homes where, by law, it is presumed gas drilling caused any pollution of water wells that may result.

The residents of Dimock have already paid a high price for Cabot’s unwillingness to accept responsibility and provide a satisfactory solution. Cabot will be the one paying the final bill. Perhaps next time Cabot will do the job right the first time and avoid expensive repairs.


John Hanger

Secretary, Department of Environmental Protection, Harrisburg

My Last Reply

This will be my last reply to those who wish to believe Mother Teresa was anything other than a gift to mankind from a loving God. I simply want to thank all of you who approached me to lend support. I assured them, as I do all believers, that when one has properly formed faith there is no need of scientific proof and what the internet, newspapers or national news insists is fact does not sway us from the truth. The Shroud of Turin has been proved and disproved by scientific methods since the 70's. When they get that right I might begin to accept scientific proof.


Annette Corrigan

Jackson, PA

Disappointed In Trehab’s Management

I am a low-income, retired woman who went to the Susquehanna Food Bank, according to my scheduled date, to find it had been moved from River Street to W. Main Street. I had tried for a few days to call the food bank, but did not get an answer.

So, this morning I drove to Susquehanna to pick up my monthly scheduled allotment of food supplies. When I arrived, I saw a note on the window that they had moved from their original building to W. Main Street and were not opening until October 18.

I had no idea where W. Main Street was, so I decided to see if I could locate this new food bank site. I found the building, where a construction worker was installing a handicap ramp and went in. The Trehab employees, Alisa, Joan and Craig were busy organizing their new site. I talked to them and they were very helpful explaining that they (themselves) had no advance notice and still had no telephone, so they were unable to notify any of their clients.

I was informed that the turkey give-out would not be at the Bingo Hall, as was previously done, but at the church next door to the new food bank site. At this church there are stairs going down the bank and then stairs going up to the Church. The very nice volunteers would put the supplies in our vehicles, after everyone had entered the church to show their proper papers. We would then have to return to our vehicles and move them to another street location, behind the church, to receive our supplies.

This upset me, very much, to think that Trehab would put all the many clients to this much trouble. (Approximately 300 people had signed up for turkey). I, myself am in good health (thank God), but there are many handicapped, disabled and elderly people that go to this food bank. I could not understand why the individual in charge from Trehab would make this such a hard (pickup) project for so many people.

I enjoyed the turkey very much for the last couple of years. However, I have decided to opt-out this year.

I am very disappointed in Trehab’s management.

Name Withheld On Request

Susquehanna County

Get Out Of Their Pockets

Pennsylvania legislation needs to get their hands out of the pockets of the gas companies who are drilling in the Marcellus Shale. Finally, there is a company, named Cabot Oil and Gas, willing to stand up for its operations and tell the government, “Enough Already,” and I fully endorse their efforts.

My husband and I live in Dimock on Woodbourne Road. Cabot is drilling a half mile from our property line. Of course, we are concerned with preserving the health, safety and welfare of our citizens and environmental protection issues. Cabot has been responsible and responsive to the issues of our neighbors. Due to greed, the folks on Carter Road haven’t been forthright with the fact that there has always been methane in their water and the surrounding area. Many of our neighbors, who have lived in this area for over 50 years, long before Cabot arrived, tell stories of folks lighting their water on fire and of positive tests for methane in their water well. I think Cabot is doing a great job and are good neighbors by offering to drill new water wells, recondition wells and provide clean water when there is no definite proof they were the cause of methane in the water.

Additionally, we own a hotel, restaurant and bar in Montrose, The Inn at Montrose. Coupled with our concern with environmental protection we are also interested in economic development. The affect that the natural gas industry is having on the local economy is immeasurable. Travel 25 miles in any direction and there is a nation wide recession. Cabot is hiring people locally, using products and services purchased from local businesses, staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurants. The Inn at Montrose historically employed an average of nine (9) workers. Due to Cabot and their subcontractors staying in our hotel and eating in the restaurant, we employ thirty-two (32) local people. We are one small example of the positive affect Cabot and the gas industry as a whole is having on many local businesses.

We have become friends with Cabot workers and appreciate what they bring to the area. Pennsylvania and its residents are benefiting from the Gas industry in many ways. One of our Cabot friends told us that Cabot has invested more than $500 million here since 2006. I don’t think there is another industry including the school system who can tout that in Susquehanna County. Also, a story that the news doesn’t publish, Cabot even donated a van to the Susquehanna library system when the library van couldn’t pass inspection.

Armed with these facts that are never published or reported, I conclude that Government needs to get their hands out of Cabot’s pockets and let them continue with their mission. If this political positioning continues I fear Cabot may consider leaving the area and exploring in West Virginia and Ohio, where state laws and state regulations are more pro-business. Yes, all gas companies need to be regulated and operate safely. However, PA agencies should be put in check and should be facilitating regulations for safe drilling practices and expedite permits to drill - not clog the system with needless bureaucracy.

DEP has gone off the deep end by forcing an emergency funding for this unnecessary water line from Montrose to Dimock. Where are the feasibility and environmental studies? Where will this line run, through land owner’s properties as eminent domain or down Rt. 29 tearing up the road? Will we be forced to hook up to the water line to the tune of $3,000 a hook up? Can Lake Montrose handle this big government enforced solution of a water line? I know for a fact our PA budget can’t handle a $12 Million bill if Cabot wins the lawsuit and Pennsylvania residents have to pay to the tune of $700,000 per household for this solution; notwithstanding, the litigation fees that we incur will most definitely come from Pennsylvania residents’ taxes.

Is John Hanger pushing this water line because Montrose wants water to the jail that happens to be located between Montrose and Dimock, or is it to clean up the superfund site of multiple houses and businesses affected by the Bendicks chemical spill years ago. The superfund site is also between Montrose and Dimock. These questions need to be answered.

I applaud Cabot, and hope others will too, for standing up to our government, which so often goes unchecked.


Gretchen Backer

Dimock, PA

Curious Thoughts

I sometimes have the oddest thoughts, and this one keeps going through my mind.

Since the governor of a state appoints the department secretaries, and they usually only have the job as long as the governor is still in office, could it be that the secretary of the DEP is positioning himself as a new water company executive?

I wonder, as his actions run directly against what a seasoned politician would do. I understand how well run the Dimock gang is, suspiciously like the rescuers of New Milford, where there is "lots of behind the scenes," that he would not listen to the majority of the citizens, who are now circulating petitions to not have lake water run to Dimock. I also read where the citizens of Montrose are questioning if they want to lose water pressure, and availability of water to them, to service Dimock.

The more this question runs through my mind, and seeing, and hearing his rhetoric, what else could it be? The water company will have a new state of the art water system installed, at no cost to the company, and the only profits will be generated to them, to help them repair the 100 year old system the company battles with everyday. What better example of one hand washing the other than to hire a recently unemployed secretary to an executive position, after they deliver a 11.5 million dollar water line to a town where only a few would benefit, and the rest made to pay. I will be very curious to know where this secretary goes after election. Won't you?


Cynthia Allen

Summersville, PA

Expressing Our Concern

I write on behalf of the entire Montrose Borough Council to express our concern over the recent decision from your office that the Commonwealth will require the Pennsylvania American Water Company (PAWC) to link Dimock residents to the Montrose Borough watershed at Lake Montrose in Bridgewater Township. Our reasons follow.

First and most importantly, no studies have been initiated examining the impact on the current watershed of adding potentially hundreds of new consumers to the water line. PAWC officials, in an information gathering at the Borough offices stated that Lake Montrose is currently “rated” by the PUC for approximately 550,000 to 650,000 gallons of water per day. Montrose Borough residents are budgeted for approximately 250,000 of those gallons; another 150,000 gallons of water have been allocated through an agreement with gas drilling companies for fracking purposes; and smaller projects, like the Endless Mountains Health Care Hospital on Route 706, have been planned for outside the Borough not connected to the Dimock line.

The math is obvious - the 12 mile water line to Dimock encompasses a significantly larger potential pool of water line users than the less than four square mile Borough, whose residents are currently budgeted at 250,000 gallons of water per day. The anticipated route of the Dimock water line is not as densely populated as Montrose Borough. However, the availability of a water line can easily change that dynamic and with merely 150,000 gallons of potential water use left after Borough use and fracking, the proposed Dimock line could overload the watershed capacity of Lake Montrose (which will jeopardize water consumption by Borough residents). The argument that the line will be designated for use by only the 14 complaining Dimock residences is nonsense. PAWC conceded to Borough Council that everyone along the line will ultimately be connected to it, establishing a far broader use pool than its original intention.

Second, the taxpayers and water line users are already burdened with high taxes and water rates - saddling them with the bill for the proposed Dimock water line expansion is simply unconscionable. The Borough Solicitor, along with a member of the Council who is a lawyer, have cursorily weighed DEP’s threat to sue Cabot for the construction costs of the proposed line and see significant deficiencies in any such contemplated suit. Additionally, the Dimock residents themselves have complained that they do not want to drink “swimming pool water” which water line tap water represents. No other less costly measures have been explored and dismissed, and no other water-company based alternatives to tapping into Lake Montrose’s watershed have been properly vetted. The likelihood that any judge would go along with DEP on this claim is slim, and taking into account Cabot’s enormous financial resources to defend itself legally, your chance of success is doubtful at best. PAWC admitted that ultimately taxpayers and water line rate customers will have to pay for this experiment.

Finally, since Lake Montrose’s daily water capacity rating process occurred many years ago, no watershed assessments have been made of Lake Montrose to determine its current daily capacity and none are planned according to PAWC. Even basic internet research shows marked effects on the water table of any area exposed to fracking activities. No weather-related studies have been issued on potential loss of water to the watershed based upon reduced snowfalls (which have been consistent in recent years), rainfalls or drought. The potential for disaster for Borough residents who rely on Lake Montrose for residential water use is great, and DEP’s disregard for the Borough residents in determining a solution for 14 non-residences of Montrose Borough (many of whom dislike chlorinated water) is alarming.

Montrose Borough is prepared to take any legal steps necessary to protect its watershed for its residents. We are currently reviewing those options, including injunctive relief against PAWC should the project begin without the performance of the necessary impact studies on the Lake Montrose watershed, and full disclosure of those results to all Borough residents.


Montrose Borough Council

Dimock Never Had Good Water

After reading the letter from Mr. John J. Yamona, Water Quality manager for Northeastern Pennsylvania regarding the quality of the drinking water supplied by Lake Montrose, we felt compelled to reply.

To that end we have the following to offer: My husband and I are frequent diners at the Stables Restaurant in Montrose. Now, the Stables have wonderful food and excellent pricing, but their coffee is absolutely horrible. No matter how much sugar and/or creamers you add the result is still the same. We go there, we drink it but if you have ever had truly good coffee, it won’t be made with Montrose town water.

On some evenings when we have dinner at home and choose to go out for coffee, we head for Lockhart’s in South Montrose. Their coffee is probably the best in the area. Guess what? Lockhart’s had contaminated water caused from the Bendix facility, but were given free filtering systems and servicing of those systems until the problem was fixed. This is a testament for filtering systems.

If Mr. Yamona thinks the water in Montrose is of such high quality, please answer why the students at Montrose High School want bottled water instead of water from the drinking fountains? And why do so many residents go to the artisan well on Bank Street with their jugs to get good drinking water? Apparently you have never had good well water.

At times you can smell the chlorine in the Montrose water… is this good for you?

We are very thankful that we have good well water and yes, they are drilling for gas near us. Everyone should have good water but come on… 11.8 million dollars [estimated cost… the final cost will undoubtedly be even more] for water to 14 families or less.

We certainly understand why Pennsylvania American Water is so eager to install that water line to Dimock. That is just plain ridiculous!

What you don’t seem to understand is that these and other Dimock folks have never had good drinking water. There has always been methane and/or sulfur in water in and around Dimock. These are documented facts.

There are other proven solutions to the water problems other than a water line from Montrose. Pennsylvania American Water should put their emphasis on improving the water quality for the Borough of Montrose and the approximately 1600 residents they now serve instead of a new 5.5 mile waterline to a few families.


Phyllis and Rob Myers

Montrose, PA

Looking For Veterans’ Addresses

The American Legion Riders, headquartered in Susquehanna, PA is requesting information, addresses and current status on our veterans, both active and retired military service members, especially overseas active members.

Our goal is to send Christmas “care” packages in time for the holidays.

Please drop off any service members’ addresses to the American Legion, Main Street, Susquehanna, attn. Terry Rockwell, President or Ralph Hadden, Vice President.

Or, mail information to: American Legion, Main Street, Susquehanna, PA 18847.


Stan Rockwell

American Legion Historian

Politicians And Other Reprobates

It was a duel of the witless. With blunted intellects that vied for the top prize of Capital City's most half-baked politician.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) opened the contest with his assessment of a war with Iran. “The U.S. should have in mind the goal of changing the regime [in Iran] by launching a military strike by air.” He topped that by adding that victory would be achieved “without so much as a single ground troop.”

Never mind the fact that it was tried during WW II in Germany and Japan. Later in Vietnam and most recently with the Shock and Awe bombardment of Iraq. Failures all.

Nevertheless, the senator predicts an air attack would be a smashing success.

Iran would fold like a lawn chair, welcome the bombing of their nation, ignore the deaths of untold numbers of citizens, learn to live with nuclear contamination, and offer their profound thanks for surviving it all.

Bravo senator.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga) countered mightily with a comment made during a House Armed Services committee hearing. Johnson questioned Adm. Robert Willard about a planned military buildup on Guam. “My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.”

The four-star admiral, the straight man in the comic skit, replied deadpan, “We don't anticipate that.” It was high comedy, though unintended.

But Johnson managed only second place. The representative appeared more likely to tip over than the island. He received a consolation prize of a free urine test.

Graham won the contest. He proved as dysfunctional as Johnson, but his empty-headed comment was coupled with war-mongering rhetoric and that gave him the winning edge.

All of which should make us wonder about the quality of our democratically elected leaders and - if we dare to criticize a sacred cow - democracy itself.

In business, the best get to the top; in politics, the worst get to top. A successful business man must offer a quality product at a fair price; long hours and hard work are essential. His business must have integrity, promises made to customers must be promises kept. And he must have proven abilities to outdo his competitors.

But a politician needs an entirely different array of talents.

First, a politician's most essential talent is that of a con man; he needs only the ability to persuade the electorate to give him their votes. For that he must appeal to the mass. His morality, his standards, must not be of the highest but one that accords with the broadest base.

In its earliest days, this nation was ruled from the top down. Today the Founding Fathers would have as much of a chance of winning an election as a blind man in a fencing match: George Washington, too aloof; John Adams, not a very likeable fellow; Jefferson, an elitist. Losers all.

Now it's rule from the bottom up. The proprietor of a candy store has more experience running a business than the president of the U.S. has in running a nation. And Sarah Palin, the first pop-culture political figure, is still a major player in politics after actually running for the vice presidency of the U.S. Astonishing.

Second, a politician must appeal to the emotions, not to the intellect. Here, slogans rule. “Yes We Can,” was Obama's rallying cry. It was as hollow as a bell but it rang loud and garnered tens of thousands of votes.

One-hundred-seventy years ago the French historian, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “The American Republic will endure until the day congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” The roots of countless social programs can be traced to politicians “bribing” the public.

When Obama declared victory, one woman cried ecstatically, “I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage. He's going to help me.”

Third, once in office a politician must accrue protection money, that is, funds to defeat his political rivals. Enter the lobbyists.

In 2008, a presidential election year, there were 14,800 lobbyists in Washington. They spent a mind-blowing $3.5 billion. Washington was and is awash with cash. A politician amassing a war chest against someone who presumes to unseat him has a smorgasbord of special interest groups from which to choose. Be good to them and they'll be good to you.

And fourth. A politician must be willing to break every rule and make any compromise to get elected and stay elected. The virtues of personal integrity, honesty, and forthrightness become impediments to success.

Exacerbating matters is the moral state of nation.

The social fabric disintegrates. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Crime increases. Drug use is rampant. A sizable subclass is generationally dependent upon the public dole. Hedonism reigns and materialism rules. Yet it is from such that the authority to govern will be chosen.

The future is gloomy. Democracy is not all it's cracked up to be. But it has one saving grace: all the other forms of government are worse.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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