Tag Archives: surveillance

PA State Police, Private Security Firms Keeping Close Tabs on Fracking Opponents

Environmental watchdogs worried about the criminalization of dissent

By Adam Federman, Earth Island Journal

Anti-fracking activists protesting a natural-gas conference in Philadelphia last fall were being monitored by a private security company that sent a photo of a demonstrator to the Pennsylvania State Police, according to an email obtained by Earth Island Journal.

A few months earlier, at another industry-led conference, state Trooper Michael Hutson delivered a presentation on environmental extremism and acts of vandalism across Pennsylvania’s booming Marcellus Shale natural-gas reserves. He showed photographs of several anti-fracking groups in Pennsylvania, including Shadbush Environmental Justice Collective protesters demonstrating at an active gas well site in Lawrence County in western Pennsylvania.

photo of a woman holding a protest sign on a farm
A Pennsylvania state police trooper used this photo of organic hog farmer Maggie Henry as part of a Powerpoint presentation about “environmental extremism.”

That same Pennsylvania state trooper visited the home of anti-fracking activist Wendy Lee, a Bloomsburg University philosophy professor, to question her about photos she took of a natural gas compressor station in Lycoming County. Remarkably, the trooper earlier had crossed state lines and traveled to New York to visit Jeremy Alderson, publisher of the No Frack Almanac, at his home outside Ithaca, to accuse him of trespassing to obtain photos of the same compressor station. Continue reading PA State Police, Private Security Firms Keeping Close Tabs on Fracking Opponents

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Drones Could Be Used to Monitor Fracking Infrastructure

Surveillance drone in action.
Surveillance drone in action.

By Tom Knox, Columbus Business First

Drones could soon be buzzing over oil and gas infrastructure in eastern Ohio as engineering firms eye the devices as a cost-saving way to better survey massive developments.

The use of drones – small, unmanned aerial vehicles that are increasingly finding business uses – is already happening in the Utica shale play, but it’s nascent. Uses range from flying over new and existing pipelines for maintenance to reviewing large projects that a potential buyer wants to ensure are in solid shape. Drones could be cheaper than manned airplanes and record better images from multiple angles. Continue reading Drones Could Be Used to Monitor Fracking Infrastructure