Central and northwest Pennsylvania saw record-breaking amounts of rainfall from Tropical Storm Lee, and massive flooding along with it. It brought devastation to a wide area of Pennsylvania. Although some accuse the Marcellus drilling industry of only being in it for the buck, a number of drillers stepped up to the plate to help with flood relief.
For example, the Williamsport Chamber of Commerce and First Community Foundation have jointly coordinated a flood relief fund that will provide assistance for local nonprofit organizations, governments and small businesses. The chamber has received pledges totaling at least $150,000, largely from natural gas developers, producers and service companies.
In addition to a $50,000 contribution to the relief fund, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is working with local municipalities, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection to repair damaged infrastructure.
Chief Oil & Gas earmarked $50,000 for the fund and donated $150,000 to Bradford, Susquehanna, Sullivan and Wyoming counties and to the Red Cross of Wyoming Valley for debris removal, cleaning supplies and other products and services according to the recipients’ needs. Chief’s Lycoming County office purchased blow-up mattresses and supplies for a shelter that housed evacuees.
Lycoming County also will benefit from donations by Alberts Spray Solutions LLC (a company that provides environmentally friendly liners for containment in the Marcellus Shale region), Ralph S. Alberts Co. Inc. and Cascade Land Clearing. Alberts will provide $10,000 to the relief fund and $5,000 to Susquehanna Health. Alberts also donated a truck to a family whose home was ravaged by floodwater, and its representatives spent days providing food and supplies to many local families.
W.J. Choate, co-owner of Cascade Land Clearing, donated and delivered supplies to local shelters.
Tug Hill Inc. pledged $50,000 for flood relief efforts. EXCO Resources Pennsylvania donated $100,000, and Williams committed $40,000 to nonprofit organizations in Wyoming, Luzerne and Susquehanna counties.
The Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce received pledges of more than $200,000 from Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Williams, Southwestern Energy, Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc., Chief and Citrus Energy in response to an email seeking assistance.
Chesapeake Energy offered the use of 50 dump trucks, loaders, several water trucks and significant manpower for emergency and cleanup efforts. Field operations were suspended while the company teamed with local emergency-response personnel to provide aid. Great Plains Oilfield Rentals also provided meals for volunteers and local Athens residents.
Employees from Range Resources facilitated the rescue of more than 60 Lycoming County residents. Likewise, the Williamsport field office of Stallion Oilfield Services provided the heavy equipment and personnel necessary to save a family of three when their home was rapidly surrounded by floodwater, providing them no avenue to escape.
Stallion also provided equipment and resources to protect pollution of local water supplies when a pond at the Lycoming County Landfill began to overflow.*
There was no mandate, no regulation, no requirement that these companies assist and donate their money, their time and their resources. They did it because they are good neighbors—and that’s what good neighbors do.
These energy companies’ actions paint quite a different picture from the one painted by anti-drillers.
*State College Centre Daily Times (Oct 6, 2011) – Gas industry helps out in time of need