Cabot picnic draws huge crowd
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. hosted a picnic in Montrose on Saturday in an effort to get to know some of its Susquehanna County neighbors a bit better.
And plenty of people – possibly more than 3,000 – showed up, Cabot sokesman George Stark said, and he was overwhelmed by the turnout at Montrose Area High School.
“We heard there was an interest about what we do but I’m excited beyond belief at the community outpouring at the event,” he said
Retired county forester Jim Kessler said he needed to learn what was going on and was at the picnic “to try to get the information first hand.”
“I want to see what I can learn today,” Kessler said.
Lew and Lois Davy, of New Milford, attended the event to find out more about the area’s natural gas industry.
Lois Davy said, “The drilling equipment is fascinating.”
Although the couple has seen little natural gas activity in their township a few miles east of Montrose, Lew Davy said, “It’s coming. We hope it does anyway. We’re looking forward to it.”
A few people showed up who were not as optimistic about gas drilling as the Davys.
Around a dozen protestors gathered near the entrance to the picnic.
Patrick Walker, of Factoryville, said he would have liked more people present to demonstrate at the event.
Although he doesn’t live in Susquehanna County, Walker said he believes natural gas drilling is a serious, statewide issue and thinks activists from other areas should be supporting each other’s events.
Julie Sautner, who lives on Carter Rd., in Dimock Twp., said she didn’t think people would be as charmed with the get together if they had “spent even six months of the past two years going through what I’ve been going through.”
Sautner said she arrived on the premises around 11:30 a.m. with a gallon jug of discolored water and was asked by a security guard what she planned to do with it.
She said she would be drinking it, “because Cabot expected us to drink it,” but acknowledged later that she only intended to have it for display purposes at a table she expected some environmentalists would be having set up to educate the public on “what really happens” with gas drilling.
Sautner said the security guard wrestled the jug from her and in the process twisted her hand.
She noted Monday afternoon that her hand still hurt, and she filed a police report Saturday evening, and may press harassment charges against the security guard.
The security guard said he was only following orders from his detail person from the Montrose school district who advised that no liquids were to be brought on the premises.
Cabot’s Stark said he was unaware of the scuffle, and indeed most of the persons present at the picnic seemed not to notice or ignored the generally peaceful demonstration.
They seemed to be more interested in the Marcellus shale samples, pyrite pieces and geodes – cut in half at the event – and given out by Selman & Associates.
Tom Selman, of Selman & Associates, explained his company employed the geologists who are on-site during the drilling process.
Selman said the entire drill process is monitored.
“We want to make sure we do it according to regulation,” he said. “We want to make sure we get it right the first time and every time.”
He said he was happy to be able to answer the community’s questions about what he does every day.
Selman said, “We feel it is a world-class play in Susquehanna County. Our job is to deliver a world-class job, not only to Cabot but to the community.”
Tables manned by Cabot professionals were set up to answer people’s production, completion and pipeline questions.
But the tables dedicated to land and drilling issues were some of the most visited throughout the day.
Stark explained visitors at the land table were interested in Cabot’s drilling plan, pad site development and royalty information.
At the table dedicated to drilling information, Cabot drilling supervisor Art Stewart was asked how the turn is made between the vertical and horizontal drilling process.
In less than a 10 minute span, that question was posed to Stewart no less than three times – and he explained the process to each who asked.