With the fight for fracking seemingly on the back burner, some local farmers have spoken up.
- With the fight for fracking seemingly on the back burner, some local farmers have spoken up.
Dave Williams, vice president of the Wayne/Pike County Farm Bureau and Bob Rutledge, president of the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance, have organized a free screening of the documentary FrackNation.
Both Rutledge and Williams speak their mind in the film about why they "want to see responsible gas exploration in our area."
Rutledge still works the land at the family homestead, which has been in the family since 1847. The Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance was formed in 2007 after many of the local farmers were appraoched with the opportunity to sign gas leases.
"A small group of farmers got together to stick together and get a better lease that was environmentally friendly," he said. That organization has grown to around 1,300 families in northern Wayne County.
The land leases negotiated by the original pack of farmers "became the standard for other leases" across the state. While the original leases required a setback of 250 feet from any water or well, the Alliance negotiated an increased setback of 500 feet from any water source. Rutledge says they have spent a lot of time and money "finding a responsible company to partner with" to move forward with exploration.
"We are not a bunch of greedy farmers," he said. "Our land is more important than money," adding that if money was the goal many would have signed leases immediately.
Rutledge says the primary concern is keeping his farm healthy for the next generation to inherit. "I want to save our farm and keep our farm in the family," he said. Gas leases are a way to ensure that that hope becomes a reality. With the financial support from a gas lease, parcels of the homestead could be kept instead of being sold. "To have someone else own the land would be a violation."
Williams said the film will give people on both sides of the issue a chance "to weigh the truth." What he found in the film is that "the biggest objectors are those who do the least to create a better environment."
FrackNation was made by Phelim McAleer after Josh Fox's documentary Gasland. McAleer is a filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has produced documentaries for CBC in Canada and RTE in Ireland. McAleer has also worked for the UK Sunday times.
The project, which premiered Jan. 22, 2013 on television, was funded by 3,305 backers on the website Kickstarter. The FrackNation website states all funds from oil and gas companies or executives were not accepted.
FrackNation will be having a free showing on April 6 at 11:30 a.m. and April 7 at 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Cinema 6 in Honesdale.
Admission is free, but a ticket is required for entry. Tickets for the event are available at the following merchants: Trackside Grill, 734 Main Street, Honesdale; Cochecton Mills, 20 Depot Road, Cochecton, NY; Dirlam Bros. Lumber Co., 250 Sunrise Ave., Honesdale; Shelly's Family Restaurant, 732 Hamlin Highway, Lake Ariel and at Cinema 6, 1199 Texas Palmyra Highway in Honesdale.
If you would like to attend, you are encouraged to stop by Cinema 6 the day of the show. If there are available seats, they will be filled on a first come, first serve basis.