Responsible Drilling Alliance

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Grieving the Loss

Click here to watch the new reality of Barb’s commute home

By Barb Jarmoska, RDA board of directors


Methane extraction. The industry calls it unconventional drilling. Zoning laws call it conditional permitted use (the same designation given to neighborhood pet fairs and selling Christmas trees in one’s backyard). Those of us who live with it in our backyards call it the destruction of our special places and the end of a way of life.    

I live on 20 acres of land that borders the Loyalsock State Forest and stretches for a full mile along the Loyalsock Creek. My grandfather purchased the property in 1933 and the memories my family has made here are priceless. My grandchildren are the 5th generation to play in the woods, swim in the creek, and sit by the campfire. In our increasingly transient society, roots this deep are precious and rare. In spite of those roots, I wonder each day how much industrialization I can endure before pulling up stakes and moving on. I wonder where I might go. One thing for sure, I will seek a place where, unlike the extraction colony of Penns Woods, the gifts of nature are revered for more than their immediate but fast-depleted and centuries-destroyed economic value.    

It’s not just the gas industry that may force me off the land. I am apt to become a refugee of climate change, as ever more severe storms bring ever higher flood waters. In the 32 years that my parents resided here full time, there were 2 significant floods. In the single decade I’ve been here, there have been 2 significant floods, both far worse than their earlier counterparts.    

And yet, in spite of Hurricanes Katrina and Lee and Sandy and Wilma and Dennis and Irma and Harvey and Maria; in spite of severe droughts that have spawned unrest and destabilization and death and terrorism; in spite of wildfires, vanishing permafrost and disappearing ice caps; in spite of an overwhelming preponderance of valid science – we are now, to quote Jeff Goodell, author of “The Water Will Come,” “An empire ruled by climate change deniers.”    

This video was taken from the window of my vehicle, at the confluence of Wallis Run and the Loyalsock Creek, where I sat in line for 15 minutes waiting to enter Butternut Grove Road…waiting to go home.    

Methane, currently being extracted from deep underground on the land above Jacoby Falls by an industry with a current total of 1,515 well permits in Lycoming County, is greenhouse gas that is initially 84 times more heat-trapping than CO2.    

Yes, I grieve that I can no longer walk the dog on my “no-outlet” county road. Far more, I grieve for the planet, for the increasing number of horribly misguided government policies and decisions, and most of all for the legacy we are leaving our children and grandchildren.  

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