Dimock PA

We particularly like pointing out the antics of Binghamton's top leader(mayor) relative to gas drilling and all things related. In the latest article it seems that the Pennsylvania DEP is not capable of making a decision related to its own residents. Seems that a select and very vocal group of a limited number of Dimock residents need Binghamton to find a way to solve their trumped up water problem. Seems these folks want more than they deserve, since they could all have treatment systems if they were not so focused on a monetary settlement. It makes for ideal news for the Binghamton Press and the obstructionists  they so obviously support who love developing false but scary stories to frighten the uninformed. BTW if a city taxpayer, I certainly would not want to pay for this purely political piece of DRAMA. Take the cost out of the mayors personal funds and see if there is the same determination. JLCpulse



by Steve Reilly, Binghamton Press

BINGHAMTON -- Mayor Matthew T. Ryan said he's looking into ways the city can aid a group of Pennsylvania landowners beset by natural gas drilling-related water woes.

On Wednesday, a Pennsylvania environmental hearing board judge struck down an eleventh-hour effort to force Cabot Oil & Gas to continue supplying water to a group of landowners in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County.

Those landowners say their wells became contaminated as a result of Cabot's drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations near their properties.

Immediately after the ruling was handed down Wednesday, Susquehanna County resident Craig Stevens -- who does not live in Dimock -- said he began making calls to arrange shipments of water from other sources for his neighbors.

Ryan was among the few who expressed interest, he said.

"He's not asking for any money. This guy is awesome," Stevens said.

He noted arrangements to have Binghamton trucks pick up water in Montrose and transport it to Dimock weren't finalized, but he had the impression they would be.

"I can call my friends in Dimock and say 'get ready, because the City of Binghamton is going to come in, and they're going to get you all topped off,'" Stevens added.

Dimock Township, located about 30 miles from Binghamton's city limits, has been a battleground in the nationwide debate over whether horizontal hydrofracking -- used to extract natural gas from tight rock formations like the Marcellus Shale -- presents a serious threat to water supplies and the environment.

Cabot was ordered to install residential water-treatment systems and provide shipments of water for 11 Dimock families under the terms of a December 2010 settlement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

But in October, DEP agreed to let Cabot stop shipping water to the families, saying it had satisfied the requirements of the 2010 settlement.

Wednesday's decision was in response to a legal appeal of that order allowing Cabot to stop shipments.

Although there is an opportunity to make a second appeal by Dec. 7, Dimock landowner Craig Sautner said the decision Wednesday leaves him and his neighbors in the lurch.

"We're not too happy," he said. "I was hoping that the environmental hearing board would do the right thing and overturn the DEP's decision to shut the water off. But that's not the way they looked at it."

Ryan -- a vocal opponent of the rush to drill for natural gas in New York -- remained vague in a statement on potential aid from the city to Dimock landowners.

"Our neighbors to the south have contacted us about their very distressing situation," Ryan said, "and we're looking into ways we can provide mutual aid."

In response to the Press & Sun-Bulletin's request for clarification, city spokesman Andrew Block said Ryan indicated in conversations with Pennsylvania landowners that "he would look into whatever sort of mutual aid the city could provide."

"He could not offer a particular resource or set of resources because the city has yet to receive an aid request from the Dimock Township," Block said. "We anticipate that mutual aid would entail water for the families that the shut-off is affecting. That nature of a mutual-aid agreement, however, depends on what the township requests."

Sautner, the Dimock landowner, said he spoke with Ryan at a hearing on hydrofracking in Binghamton in November and he would be glad for Ryan's and Stevens' help.

He and his wife have enough water in their 550-gallon tank to last until Friday. After that, they'll probably need outside help to keep water shipments coming.

"We'll see what happens with all this," Saunter said. "We're in a crazy situation right now."

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