When well pads move into your neighborhood, pipelines crisscross the countryside, and massive trucks rumble past your house, it is easy to fall into despair. When invaders come to your home, it seems like your whole world has turned upside down. Even if you don’t live near a well pad, many in this county are starting to feel the overwhelming despair of endless losing battles. So I certainly understand why one’s “fight or flight” response would start screaming “Flight!” So far, we’ve lost the fight to stop the Geyer well pad near the Mars schools. We’ve lost the fight to stop the well pad in Connoquenessing borough, near the elementary school and park. We’ve lost the fight to protect the kids at Summit Elementary from the well pad that’s 700 feet from their school. It’s difficult to acknowledge this, but all of these well pads are there, the wells have been fracked, and they’re not going away now.
Even our victories are minor and not permanent. Save Lake Arthur Watershed has thwarted the construction of the Cratty well pad in the watershed of Lake Arthur in Franklin Township for over two years, and have shut it down no less than three times. XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, still has not reapplied after the last defeat, but the door is always open for them to do so and they likely will, but SLAW will be on the watch to stop them again. In Butler Township, for reasons unknown to Section 27 Alliance, the monstrous and terrifying Krendale well pad has been dead in the water for over two years, as has the cleverly named “AK Steel A” well pad, despite both receiving township approval for construction in residential-zoned areas. The last action the DEP took on the Krendale permit occurred on October 23, 2014. With Rex Energy in its financial death throes, it is unclear if Krendale will ever materialize. These too are hard truths, but they're simple facts that we must acknowledge.
But even in the face of these major defeats and minor victories, I have never felt the urge to leave. I look at it this way: if all of us who are fighting against fracking throw our hands up in defeat and desperation, pack our bags, and leave, we are letting the frackers win. We are giving them exactly what they want. They don’t want any voices of opposition in the crowd. While Butler County may be full of pro-frackers and anti-environmentalists, it is my home too. I live here too. It’s the only home I’ve ever known. And I feel like I’m watching it burn down.
I have as much right to live here as anyone else, and I also have as much right to try to save my home. This is our home too, everybody. Don’t let them chase us away. If they do, then they win. Stand strong in the face of adversity, and, to quote an old song, we shall overcome. After all, there’s no place like home.