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Fracking opponent motivates Plains Township crowd

PLAINS TWP. — Scott Cannon brought a message of empowerment to about 100 residents gathered on Wednesday night to hear more about a high-pressure gas pipeline seemingly on its way to and through their neighborhoods.

Cannon, who heads the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, shared an audio-visual presentation, which at times brought gasps from the crowd.

Included in that presentation was footage of a woman setting her home’s tap water on fire, purportedly due to methane released into the well during hydraulic fracturing.

The proposed 118-mile PennEast Pipeline Project will originate in Dallas Borough and make its way to the Transco pipeline in Mercer County, New Jersey.

Cannon acknowledged that there certainly is money to be made by the transport of the natural resource, but encouraged attendees to count the cost of any monetary profit.

He cited crime, job scarcity, environmental damage and loss of a sense of community as reasons to actively resist placement of the pipeline.

In addition, he cited several instances of gas-related explosions across the country.

“I’m not saying that it’s going to happen,” he said, “but there is some small chance of it.”

Related: Path of PennEast natural gas pipeline modified near Plains Township, Laflin Borough

PennEast, he said, is trying to buy influence and public support.

“They have offered a $500,000 grant to local fire companies,” said Cannon. “But, I’ve heard that some companies gave the money back.”

At that point, someone shouted from the back of the room, “We gave all the money back.”

Cannon credited both township and fire company officials with putting their values above financial gain.

Cannon said the state Department of Environmental Protection was not doing its job when it came to managing potential problems presented by the proposed pipeline.

“The DEP said they don’t want to release information about safety concerns surrounding the pipeline because they don’t want to alarm people,” he said. “But the situation is alarming and people have a right to know.”

Cannon credited residents and officials from Pittston and Dallas townships and Wyoming and West Wyoming boroughs with openly speaking out against the pipeline.

He encouraged attendees to understand that they were not powerless to resist the pipeline and especially to resist its placement near their homes.

“You can deny PennEast access to your property and you can rescind access if you have already granted it,” he said. “You can refuse to grant them an easement to your property.”

In concluding his presentation, filled with color and sound that seemed to repeatedly move his audience members, Cannon encouraged them to make a commitment to the safety of their own area.

Asking if anyone would be willing to invest their time in the leadership of a Plains Township Gas Drilling Awareness group, several attendees volunteered.

“Of course, I’m willing to be a part of this effort,” said Theresa Kevak. “It’s important.”

This article was written by Geri Gibbons from The Times Leader and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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