Sunday, February 10, 2013

Drilling Won't Save the Family Farm

A couple years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Carol French, a dairy farmer in Bradford County, PA. She came to the town of Caroline, NY to share some of her experiences of living and farming in a drilling area. Since then I have heard her speak a couple more times. Since 2011 she’s seen health impacts to her cows and her family from water contaminated by nearby drilling activity. The photo is of rashes her cows have been suffering. That is only one of the health impacts she's seeing on her farm.

A couple days ago she posted a plea for New Yorkers. Here is a condensed version of her comments (full comments at Raging Chicken):

If I hear one more New York farmer or any Farmer tell me that they want Natural Gas drilling in their state or they signed a gas lease to “SAVE their FAMILY FARM” I will probably lose it!

Today I thought it’s going to be a good day. We didn’t lose power (from the big snowstorm). We made our way to the barn to only find that another cow aborts her calf. She was eight months into her pregnancy. Before I was done milking my cows, cow number three starts to abort her calf. She too is eight months into her pregnancy. In nine days we have had three cows lose their calves.

For people not familiar with farming I will explain the dilemma. A cow should be “dry” for two months before giving birth. A cow that aborts during this time of her pregnancy doesn’t “come into” her milk real well. This Farmer counts on the replacement calves to continue farming the same number of cows. I have heard from other farmers with “changed” water having similar problems. If this is true, the money from the lease, royalties, and signing other agreements will NOT offset the cost of:  1. Losing your health. 2. Losing your family business, 3. Losing the value of your property. With this stripped from you, what will you have?

A farmer claiming that this natural gas extraction is going to save the farm is sadly mistaken. Should that farmer count on this money and lose everything that I had mentioned … he definitely will lose his farm to the gas industry without a dime in his pocket!

Carol appreciates our concern – but what she really wants is us, her neighbors in NY, to stand up with her. She has written to her state agencies, DEP, state Dept. of Agriculture, and a host of other people, to no avail.

In the next few days the Governor of NY and state environmental regulators will likely determine whether and how to allow high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing. This is the time, Carol says, for New Yorkers to stand up and speak.

Help Pennsylvania fight against Hydro- Fracturing and what it has done to its people living in Pennsylvania. Please remember, what my neighbor agrees to do on his property will affect me, just like what Pennsylvania will do in its state will affect New York, West Virginia, and Ohio. All of these states have become Pennsylvania’s drilling waste dumping grounds for the gas industry.


  1. will she give the name of her veterinary service and allow them to discuss her dairies health problems.

    1. do your research; this woman has spoken numerous times in public forums. Then go read Bamberger & Oswald's report on health impacts on animals.

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Asking your question while remaining hidden is not in good form.

    The rest of the people

    I have three parcels of land, the one my house sits on, one that is a game preserve then the rest of my 1,150 acres is a farm. I raise corn that makes alcohol. I have been warned about letting lease for gas drilling by my buyers. How would you like your Jack Daniels being contaminated, or maybe almost all of your food stuffs that get processed in some form or another. Then there is gasoline, which 40% of the corn raised in America goes into your fuel and then your car is belching this out into the atmosphere.

    There are safer methods to get this gas and the oil around it than the current fracking method. I ask these companies to post $25 million per acre in perpetuity, most offer $5 million overall. If they damage my water supply they need to replace it with a potable water supply. Potable being the key word.

    Plus I tell these people I really don't need the money, I tell my neighbor who have signed with these companies, if there is a problem from the drilling and fracking, I will file suit against them, not the energy companies. Most of them will have spent the money well before I get the paperwork filed and then they will probably have to give up everything to pay for the damages.

    New Social Say,

    Think Before You Drink.

    Jerry Smith, PhD.

    1. A lot of landowners don't realize that they are liable for polluting their neighbor's water from drilling that happens on their land.