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Personal account from the Marcellus Shale
JUNE CHAPPEL

 
Life in the small, bucolic village of Buffalo Pennsylvania drastically changed in 2009 when Range Resources Appalachia purchased 171 acres of land and began extensive industrial-grade development on this rural property. The change was even more drastic for June Chappel’s family, since the rapid development was occurring on two sides of their formerly peaceful country home. By Labor Day of that year, Range had clearcut all the trees from a large area beside their home, excavated a large drilling pad, drilled 7 Marcellus Shale gas wells and created a huge impoundment dam behind their home. Labor Day weekend brought about the flaring stage of Range’s well completions. They were told there would only be one flare, but there ended up being two. Imagine everyone’s surprise when the flaring caught the pit liner on fire!
 

In an interview June described it this way:

“We didn’t ask them to come into our neighborhood. It’s right next to my property, I believe it’s 800 feet from my property. When they started doing the drilling I didn’t know if we were safe or not. The pit that was behind my house, it was the size of a football field, and the smell was terrible. It smelled like gasoline and kerosene. I was breathing in these fumes and my son and I had headaches for a year. As time went on it got worse, the smell got stronger and stronger, and one night I couldn’t breathe. I just don’t feel safe living here, and I feel like they have destroyed the value of my property, I still owe a mortgage, and who would ever buy this?”
 

 

The football-field-sized impoundment behind her home had changed from holding fresh water to flowback and drilling wastewater. Other times she compared the smell to a beauty salon when someone was getting a perm. The stench was so bad that she and her neighbors couldn’t sit outside at night to enjoy the evening air. What Range called their “Best Production Pad” had become "June’s Worst Nightmare." This situation came to a head during a township meeting when she and her neighbors faced-off with a group of Range personnel, who can be seen seated at the front of the meeting room, along with the Hopewell Township supervisors (who are on the right front) in this YouTube video, with June Chappel beginning to speak at the 4:09 mark:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbWqR9KoVp4

Several months after that meeting, Range removed the impoundment.


Photos below show the Best Production Pad and Impoundment to further illustrate what has already been described.
 


April 2009
Drilling 7 Marcellus wells next to June's home
 
 

Summer 2009
Fracking next to June's home
 
 

Early morning scene on Labor Day 2009
Looking across June Chappel's driveway
 
 
Candlestick flare
One of the two flares next to June's home
 
Video of twin Labor Day flares next to June's house
 
 

Labor Day 2009
Fire Department extinguishing pit liner fire
 
 

View from June's kitchen window
After the fire, the flare was relit the next day
 
 

April 2010
Overview of Wotring Road area
 
 
June Chappel's house on right
 
 
April 2010
Final preparations before removing the impoundment
 
 
August 2010
Impoundment being restored

LINKS
Pam Judy's story
Beth Voyles story
Terry Greewood's story
 
 

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