Updated: Apr 13, 2018
I'm a 62 year old organic farmer or I was until fracking destroyed my business and laid to waste everything my husband and I have worked our entire lives to build, our children's inheritances, keep the farm going yet another generation? All destroyed!.
The details are astounding really, that anything like this could happen in America is unbelievable. This farm has been in my husband's family for 100 years. 100 years we have stewarded our piece of heaven, caring for the earth as we coaxed sustenance from the ground, not to mentioned paying the taxes which I now see as proof we really don't own anything, merely paying rent to the state.
In 2006, the very day I realized my life long dream of owning a high tunnel, a plastic structure over a tiny piece of land for the purpose of extending the growing season, fracking landed on my doorstep when my NRCS agent told me an adjacent farmer was "begging for a well"! I wish I could convey all that has gone on in the decade since that fateful day but it would take a book.
Life in the shalefields of Pa is poisonous, now proven by over 700 studies including the EPA one where this past December they were forced to admit to lying about groundwater contamination from the slurry of poisonous chemicals forced into mother earth. Earthquakes, over 80 of them since March of 2014 have destroyed the integrity of my basement foundation, water now pours down the walls in a rain storm, shattered my chimney flue pipe and cracked all my drywall. The roof we replaced in 2008 with 40 year shingles now leaks from the ground shaking.
I can not be on the farm for more than a day before the toxic pollution spewed into the air from the cryogenics plant causes my heart to do somersaults in the chests, the last attack left me short of breath and sent me fleeing at 3:30 am this past December after I returned to rescue some Christmas decorations. Oh yes I neglected to mention we were forced to flee a year ago, and take out a mortgage on a 3rd house, 3 hours away from our beloved farm. 2 houses stand vacant on the farm, we pay those taxes and the insurances as well!
I live in terror of pipeline explosions...Can you even imagine yourself in this dire situation? We are not wealthy people, we never have been, taxes and insurances are a constant struggle, always have been! This home that the industry has destroyed? It's a modular placed on a basement, but it's my home! The 40 spruce trees in the yard? They represent the 40 Christmases of our marriage, a new one dug up every year, couldn't stand to just cut them down, that is the stewardship of the earth I'm speaking of.
Worst of all fracking corporations, Hilcorp Energy and Nisource, a joint venture of Hilcorp Energy and several other players have not only poisoned the air we are forced to breathe, contaminated the soil I treasured that produced the food I fed my customers and family, destroyed many people's well water, they have stolen from me the right to grow old raising my grandchildren on the land their parents roamed as did 4 generations of our previous ancestors! How is all this possible in America, land of the free, home of the brave?
I now know what the Palestinians have endured at the hands of the Israelites. I understand the violent attacks, what choice do they really have? What choice do I have? My only concern is that I am incapable of retaliating, I don't have a violent bone in my body, so I protest, all over the state, in DC too!
As you prepare to move I want you to think about being forced to move, not have the choice, and having to carry every single box and piece of furniture yourself. My hands ache as much as my heart does. What did we do to deserve this?
- Maggie Henry