CANAAN TOWNSHIP, WAYNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Landowners in part of the Poconos say they’re being treated like second class citizens.
Homeowners are fired up and sounding off about a possible natural gas drilling ban in the Delaware River basin area.
Lawmakers from across the commonwealth held a public hearing Tuesday on the issue at Camp Ladore in Wayne County.
“Why would we ever put a ban on something?” Wayne County commissioner Brian Smith said.
Smith, a farmer, may have been the most passionate person testifying before a PA House Majority Policy Committee hearing Tuesday.
The room was filled with nearly 100 landowners who want to see natural gas drilling in both Wayne and Pike counties.
“I’ve got 400 plus acres and I don’t want my rights to be taken away!” Gunther Unflat of Lackawaxen Township said.
Gunther and Marge Unflat live in Lackawaxen Township.
They can’t believe the Delaware River Basin Commission, an agency set-up to safeguard the Delaware River, is proposing to ban fracking.
Having a farm themselves, the Unflats want gas drilling royalties.
“We’re running out of cash so it would be a god-send to us!” Marge Unflat said.
For two hours, a total of 11 state lawmakers took testimony from speakers, all who took issue with a possible drilling ban in some way.
State representative Jonathan Fritz asked for the hearing.
He says property owners are now pushing back.
“There is no scientific nor logical justification for installing a permanent ban on drilling in the Delaware River basin. It just does not exist,” Representative Fritz said.
While a large majority of people in the crowd support natural gas drilling there were a handful who oppose it.
James Barth and Barbara Arrindell are against gas drilling.
They left before Tuesday’s hearing ended, angry that no one discussed the health dangers they see involved in the fracking process.
“He invites no one of the opposite opinion. It’s disgusting!” James Barth of Berlin Township said.
“To set up a meeting like this and call it a hearing. It is so false!” Barbara Arrindell of Damascus Township said.