(youtube) Truthland is a fraud. People can light their taps on fire because of gas drilling. This is one of those cases. In fact, one of the companies that produced Truthland, Chesapeake Energy, was responsible for this mess. A snippet from the Marcellus Shale Reality Tour video Sherry Vargson gave the group a tour of her farm in Granville Township, where Chesapeake Energy has drilled one well and installed compressor and metering stations and a gathering pipeline. She said her water became contaminated with methane after maintenance activities at the site in June 2010, and lit water from her tap alight for a trip attendees and the media.
The little bus wound its way over green mountains, alongside undeveloped stretches of the meandering Susquehanna River and through some of Pennsylvania's most pristine wilderness.
The man inside with the microphone, the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition's Scott Cannon, said there's trouble in paradise as he pointed out the changes Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling has brought to Pennsylvania's Northern Tier.
Here was a drilling rig, there a water withdrawal site and every so often yet another pipeline was laid out in preparation for burial.
The sights were part of the coalition's "Marcellus Shale Reality Tour," held Sunday for area legislators, municipal representatives and candidates for political office.
"We still have to deal with pipelines, compressor stations; they wanted to put a frack water treatment facility in Hanover Township -- that was an hour away from the nearest drill site," Cannon said.
About 15 people attended the tour, including candidate for U.S. representative Bill Vinsko, Wilkes-Barre Administrative Coordinator Drew McLaughlin and Luzerne County Council candidates Kathleen Dobash, Salvatore Licata, Eileen Sorokas and Michelle Bednar.
"It's all about information," Sorokas said. "You can't beat going firsthand and seeing it. I've heard so many things about it; I want to clarify it in my mind."
"It's important to learn about all sides of this important issue," said Vinsko, a Democrat who plans to a 2012 challenge to Republican Lou Barletta in Pennsylvania's 11th Congressional District.
"In order to make informed decisions, I wanted to hear from the landowners on both sides of the issue. I also plan to meet with the gas companies to get all sides of the story, but this is an important first step."
At least one trip participant had already made up his mind about the issue. Throop Borough Council President Tommy Lukasewicz said he has been fighting against the efforts of Keystone Sanitary Landfill to increase its daily intake by 2,500 tons, which would allow it to accept more solid waste from the gas drilling industry.
"I agree more than anyone here probably that this is the worst thing that could happen to Northeastern Pennsylvania," he said, adding that he believes gas drilling could reverse the progress the area has made in erasing the scars left 50 years ago by coal mining.
Lukasewicz, who attended Mansfield University and often drove through Bradford County to get there, said he "wanted to see firsthand what an area (he) had known about looks like now."