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Friday, April 22, 2011

Bradford County Commissioners' Letter To PA Gov. Tom Corbett

Hey Moon Township supervisors, will you be writing such a letter to the governor if, and when, 
after you allow these predatory drillers to come into OUR community, we have a 
blowout preventer disaster poisoning our groundwater, soil, wildlife, vegetation and citizens? 

Beware of what you wish for. You wished for Wal-Mart, and now,
look what you've got! A real problem!!

Mark W. Smith, Chairman
301 Main St.
Towanda, PA 18848

                                        Bradford County Commissioners

                                                                                                 April 20, 2011

Governor Tom Corbett
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120

Dear Governor Corbett,

Issue after issue has arisen in Bradford County in relation to the development of natural gas in Bradford County. 
Most recently there was a major incident involving a well blowout in Leroy Township, Bradford County. This major 
incident is just one more issue our county is dealing with in regards to the development of the Marcellus Shale.

I have a number of concerns I would like to address in relation to these important issues that are unfolding in the
 county I was elected to represent. DEP officials are quoted in the media as saying they spend as little as 35 minutes
 to approve each gas well permit. This is an appalling statistic considering the significant
operations and impact of a natural gas drilling site and even more appalling considering that there have been nearly
 2,000 gas wells permitted in Bradford County.

In recent weeks it has been reported that DEP is now requiring Marcellus Shale violations to be approved by top DEP
 officials before being levied on gas companies. This practice strikes at the heart of the integrity of that organization. 
It does irreparable damage to the local areas in the Marcellus Shale with the environmental damage that has become 
an everyday reality in Bradford County.

Well water contamination in Bradford County is a real and serious issue that is affecting residents’ quality of life,
 livelihoods, families, and property values. Water buffalos, temporary water storage tanks, now lay claim to peoples’
 front yards as a stark reminder  of the extreme negative impact that natural gas development is having on our local
Last year I put forth much effort working for a severance tax that would include an equitable share for local 

It was a failed attempt but a sincere effort to ensure our county is taken care of through this development. I continue 
to see our county, townships, and boroughs struggle with complex issues of development with no financial or logistical
 support from the Commonwealth. Emergency responders, volunteers, state and local police and dispatchers are 
working at a break neck pace to respond to immense traffic accident increases, well site accidents, and other related 

I have heard politicians in complete favor of the gas industry use the phrase, “We don’t want to kill the golden
 goose”. I would like to state, for the record, that the “Golden Goose” does not exist. It is no more part of reality than
 the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny. Lastly, I would like to address the outstanding issue regarding 
Bradford County’s lack of  representation on your appointed Marcellus Shale Commission. Bradford County has had 
the unique experience of being the most drilled in county in the Commonwealth of  Pennsylvania. Yet, despite that
 fact, no one from our county was appointed to your commission. 

The fact our county was not taken into  consideration is a direct insult to our county. I have been working to, at 
least, find a way for some of our agencies to be heard by the commission or one of its work groups. To date
 I have not been successful. I have called and  e-mailed the Lt. Governor’s Office and tried working through one of
 our state representatives to no avail. What a  shame that a county with the most experience dealing with the impact
 of natural gas development seems to have  been blackballed from comment to what will be your basis for setting
 Marcellus Shale policy.

 I ask you to take our county and others like it seriously as you move forward setting policy in regards to 
Marcellus Shale development. 

The economic benefit of this development is unquestionable. However, it is also unquestionable that when left 
unattended, the negatives outweigh the positives quickly and heavily.

Best Regards,
Mark W. Smith
Chairman, Bradford County Commissioners
Cc: Secretary Michael Krancer
Representative Tina Pickett
Representative Matt Baker
Senator Gene Yaw


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