Environment
6:00 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Activists Blockade Marcellus Shale EQT Site in Moshannon State Forest

The road has been cleared to a Marcellus Shale drilling site in Moshannon State Forest in Clearfield County. A Bureau of Forestry spokesman says a few protesters were still in the area today but debris has been removed from the roadway.

EQT suspended operations at the gas well Sunday morning when an estimated 50 activists from Marcellus Shale Earth First! blocked access to the site.

The protesters brought down trees and piled up material from the forest to block the access road. In addition, anchor ropes from two tree sitters were strung across the road.

Earth First! spokesman Julian Young said state troopers eventually removed one of the tree sitters with a bucket truck and arrested him, along with two people on the ground, but the other tree sitter avoided arrest by climbing out of reach. Young said he had enough rope to climb down later, even though troopers cut his anchor line.

The group objects to using public land for private profit and wants hydraulic fracking to end in Pennsylvania and the country, according to Young. "We are seeing over and over that fracking cannot be done safely. With well water that families have relied on for generations, that has been a clean, healthy source of water, as soon as drilling operations began, went bad."

Air quality at drilling sites is not even regulated, according to Young, and puts all kinds of pollution into the atmosphere, which puts at risk all the progress made in western Pennsylvania for cleaner air.

Young said Earth First! has no immediate plans for further action but hopes the blockade was a significant disruption.

Update: July 10 10:00 am

After several calls to EQT inquiring about operations at the gas well, spokeswoman Natalie Cox confirmed that the company was able to resume work at the site Sunday afternoon.