Tomorrow, November 9th, PENNVEST will meet to approve a $12 million dollar grant & loan to construct a 12 mile water line from Montrose to Dimock Township in Susquehanna County to serve roughly 14 families. The families have experienced sub-quality well water and many blame nearby drilling by Cabot, even though Cabot has submitted numerous affidavits by local people admitting there has always been methane in the water.
Why should Pennsylvanians outside of Susquehanna County care? Two reasons. First, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary John Hanger is ignoring the wishes of the local community and opposition by the local water company. Residents say the drinking water should be provided in other ways, like the home treatment systems Cabot has installed in many Dimock area homes. The need for a infrastructure project of this size should be decided by the local government, not the DEP.
Secondly, Pennsylvania taxpayers will be on the hook for the cost of the project. The requested $11.5 million grant if approved along with the $172,000 loan is not small potatoes. The emergency grant request would be one of the largest grants ever rewarded for a single project by PENNVEST.
Without any type of feasibility study, locals are worried about the environment and draining Lake Montrose, since anyone along the water line can be connected to the municipal system. On the other side, an army of anti-drilling activists—many from nearby New York—have been disrupting informational meetings, and are planning to stage a protest outside of Tuesday’s PENNVEST meeting to ensure drilling companies are “punished,” regardless of the negative effects on local residents and state taxpayers.