In today’s New York Times, Verlyn Klinkenborg’s Editorial Observer Column Walking Where the Drilling Rigs Will Go, ruminates on what is lost by drilling in the Marcellus Shale — and the ultimate loss of landowner control that goes along with it.
“[I]t is still hard to imagine how much this effort will transform the landscape. I walked with a friend along a gravel road near Peas Eddy. In a relatively flat spot in the woods, we came upon a surveyor’s stake. If the state gives the go-ahead, that subtle opening will be replaced by an industrial-sized clearing to make space for a drilling rig and all the machinery needed to fracture the shale and extract and pump the gas. All of that equipment will travel on the gravel road we had just walked, which runs along a stream bank.
My friend has refused to sign a mineral lease for his land. Yet his refusal makes no difference. Once a certain percentage of landowners in a development block have agreed to sign and the state gives the green light the drillers can go ahead. The rigs will run up and down the roads, and the woods will take on the look of a heavy construction zone, all in the immediate vicinity of people who have tried to hold out against the drilling.”