MIFFLIN TOWNSHIP -- Five people protesting natural gas drilling were arrested Thursday afternoon in Lycoming County. Authorities said the protest stopped drilling at a state forest for about six hours.
The protestors are from a group called Marcellus Shale Earth First. State police said early in the morning, three people chained themselves to a 12 foot pipe outside the entrance to Andarko's gas drilling site at the Tiadaghton State Forest near Jersey Shore. The protesters blocked the only access road to the well-pad, so gas workers could not do their jobs until state police came and arrested the activists.
Natural gas workers could not do their jobs at the Tiadaghton State Forest. Newswatcher Paul Garrett sent us video.
"The activists locked down, disrupted drilling activities and stopped drilling activities for six hours today," Matt Smith said.
State police arrested five protesters, including a man from Lewisburg. They face a list of charges, including disorderly conduct. Close to two dozen people protested drilling at Pennsylvania's state forests. Governor Tom Corbett recently issued an order to open some of the state's remaining public lands for hydraulic fracturing, this includes state forests. Protesters said they enjoy fishing and hiking on state forest land, and they don't want to see that disappear.
"For that to be fragmented, for there to be roads put in, wells put in and the water tainted, that isn't something people want to stand for," Joe Gorman said.
The group also protested at Anadarko's Williamsport headquarters on West Third Street.
"To let the public know and to let the corporation know that there's a growing ground swell of resistance and opposition to shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania," Smith said.
Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation released a statement to Newswatch 16 late Thursday night:
"We respect everyone’s right to express their views, provided that it is done in a manner that does not jeopardize the safety of the community and our personnel. When today’s demonstration at Dam Run Road put the safety of the community and personnel at risk, we asked the state police to respond as appropriate."
The five people arrested are locked up in the Lycoming County Prison.