On Saturday, Marcellus Outreach Butler hosted one of the foremost experts in the world on ultrafine particles and the Butler Eagle didn't see fit to cover the event. Dr. Michael McCawley, a scientist, not an anti-fracking advocate, outlined the catastrophic consequences of ultrafine particles on human health (childhood asthma, cardiopulmonary disease and cancer) and then shared research that links the production of ultrafine particles and shale gas extraction and infrastructure. Considering the steady drumbeat of scientific studies that have been released in this same vein in the last several weeks, McCawley's information was not surprising. What is surprising is the lack of interest by the self proclaimed "Butler County's great daily newspaper." Coupled with recent editorial decisions to cheer on this killer industry and to misrepresent and smear local residents trying to protect their homes and children, the Eagle is nonresponsive to the needs of the locals and doing the bidding of the invaders.
Government agencies carrying water for invaders has a long and tragic history. Butler County government entities selling locals down the river adds another chapter.
The Woodlands has been without water for over 4 years and dependent upon a water bank for over 3 and not a penny of local impact fees have been sent their way. About the only thing folks from the Woodlands have gotten from Connoquenessing Township and Butler County is a smearing of their character and a denial of science. If having your wells poisoned by nearby drilling isn't an impact, what is? But they aren't the only locals being sold down the river. Middlesex, Butler and Franklin Township and Connoquenessing Borough have also seen local officials act irresponsibly when it comes to protecting residents.
The Butler School District acted recklessly in September, 2013 when they didn't cancel classes at Summit Elementary when the Kozik Brothers well was flaring 500 feet from the playground and 900 feet from the school. The recklessness continued this spring when the Butler Area School District decided to expand that school, putting more children in harm's way. One of Dr. McCawley's findings points to the risk to health when one is so close to a well (and a flaring well is even more problematic). Right on cue, XTO decided to expand the operation at the Kozik site. Of course, Summit isn't the only Butler Area school in close proximity to an active well. Connoquenessing Elementary is a mere 1900 feet from another well pad. And Butler isn't alone; unfortunately, children in other local school districts have also elected to put children at risk by leasing school properties and other school districts (and private schools and daycares) are threatened because of reckless neighbors.
Butler County is an invaded community and the local press and government bodies do little more than act as cheerleaders and enablers. If the Eagle won't dig for truth and local politicians won't do our bidding, it's time for change. It's time for the Eagle to act like a "great daily paper" and it's time for the rest of us to kick the bums out.