"Rural Pennsylvania Town Fights Big Gas"

"EAGLES MERE, Pennsylvania -- In the rush to develop America's biggest new source of domestic energy, one community is fighting to protect its rural way of life from the environmental strains that accompany shale gas drilling.

Residents of this wealthy north-central Pennsylvania vacation community are refusing to lease their land to energy companies scrambling to grab a piece of the Marcellus Shale, a massive natural gas deposit believed to contain enough of the fuel to satisfy total U.S. natural gas demand for 20 years.

Most of the doctors, lawyers and executives who own homes in the resort about 150 miles northwest of Philadelphia are unmoved by offers of lease payments of at least $2,500 an acre, or by the promise of royalties on gas harvested from what is expected to become America's most productive shale field.

Other U.S. communities have spoken up about the deforestation, air pollution, truck traffic and what they consider ground water contamination that have accompanied shale gas development elsewhere. Residents of Eagles Mere are seeking to stop it from happening in their backyard.

Eagles Mere differs from some other rural communities where economic hardship, particularly among farmers, makes it more likely that landowners accept checks from the energy firms."

John Hurdle reports for Reuters September 8, 2010.

Friday, September 10, 2010