When a large energy company came to Myersville, MD, in 2011 requesting permission to build a compressor station for its natural gas delivery, Ann Nau and her neighbors thought they’d win the fight to keep it out.
Dominion Transmission, a subsidiary of Virginia-based Dominion Resources, hoped to build the station less than one mile from the Frederick County, MD, town’s only elementary school. Nau, who had a child at the school, worried about air emissions from the 16,000-horsepower station. She worried about overwhelming the town’s small fire department, about traffic on its small-town roads, noise and fumes.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made headlines at the end of last year when he announced a ban on hydraulic fracking in his state. That was unquestionably a victory for environmentalists, but in neighboring Pennsylvania, however, fracking is still underway. This summer, I visited the northeastern region of the Keystone State to see what the the front lines of America’s shale gas boom looks like.
Far off the radar of Google Maps, I found Craig Stevens mowing the front lawn on his 115-acre property in Susquehanna County. Craig, a former National Rifle Association recruiter, hasn’t had a drink from his faucet in about a year and a half, and for good reason.
“Blood started shooting out of my face,” he told me at his home, licking the sweat off of his gray mustache. “The water started tasting like metal. Slightly at first, then it got stronger. I had spontaneous nosebleeds. Eight of them over two weeks. I couldn’t figure out what it was, but the day I stopped drinking the water is the day the nosebleeds stopped.” Craig had the water tested. “Barium and strontium levels are through the roof,” he said. Continue reading Meet the Insurgents on the Front Line of America’s Fracking War→