Anti-Fracking Activist Case In Court

MONTROSE — An opponent of natural gas drilling insists her civil rights are being violated after Cabot Oil and Gas got her barred from parts of Susquehanna County. The woman is known for protesting against hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” a controversial way of injecting water and chemicals into the ground to extract oil and gas.

Anti-drilling activist Vera Scroggins wants a judge to lift an injunction he imposed six months ago. It restricts where she can and cannot go in Susquehanna County.

Scroggins, of Brackney, claims she’s just a grandmother taking on a multi-million dollar energy company in Susquehanna County.

“I feel they’re trying to silence me.”

Scroggins’ lawyers went to court saying a judge in Susquehanna County went too far in October when he signed Cabot Oil and Gas’s request for a temporary injunction to ban Scroggins from drilling properties.

They say the injunction is worded so she can’t go anywhere Cabot has leases to mineral rights, and that’s 40 percent of the county.

“They’re trying to make this more difficult for me so that I couldn’t do it, or to intimidate me so that I would stop doing it,” Scroggins said.

For the past five years, Scroggins videotaped fracking operations in Susquehanna County and uploaded the video online.

But critics say her activism often turned ugly.

Others posted video of Scroggins confronting pro-drilling activist and filmmaker Phelim McAleer.

“Go get drunk and be a drunken Irish freak,” said Scroggins on the video. “How does it feel to get money from the one percent and be a male prostitute?”

“I don’t allow my children to use that language,” said Kelly Harding of Franklin Forks.

Outside the courthouse, a group of landowners and supporters of natural gas drilling in Susquehanna County said Cabot’s trucks and drilling sites are less disruptive than Vera Scroggins’ protests.

“Screaming, and going onto private property, and putting people at risk, and blocking public roads,” Harding said.

In court, Cabot’s lawyers clarified the injunction it seeks, claiming it only wants to ban Scroggins from active drilling sites and have her stay 150 feet away.

But she won’t commit to following these terms.

“If I have to go to jail to protect my planet and my life, and to expose this industry, then yes.”

Cabot’s attorneys say the move to restrict Vera Scroggins is for her safety and the safety of its workers.

A judge says he will rule soon on just how close Vera Scroggins can get to Cabot’s drilling sites.

39 comments

  • mdog

    Nothing is Sacred Anymore, American Indians knew how to
    respect the land God Gave Them.
    We deserve what we have sewn, God Help Us.

  • Tom Shepstone

    Vera lied about the whole thing and so did her legal counsel. They KNEW from January 16 on that there was no reason to avoid shops, the hospital etc. See: \http://naturalgasnow.org/a-les\… or go to the courthouse to see the filing. It was all a fabrication to appeal to naive fractivists and sympathetic media.

  • not stating

    Wow you people are saying what she is doing is right????!!!!! I lived near as ome of these sites. The only problem I ever had was how late the trucks were running. But NEVER once did I complain. And how about jobs!!!!!! These are some tough times to find jobs but you can get jobs with the gas companies. Oh no one thinks of that. This woman has been shown on the sidewalks in Montrose yelling obscenities at gas worker’s. But we can easily forget about that. She needs to get over it and get a frikin life. Oh and btw I know people who lived in Dimock LONG before they started fracking there and could light their water on fire then too. But a big gas company comes along so lets blame them……….grow up people.

  • That Guy

    I knew Vera and her son growing up. The whole family has a background of being “nutty in the brain”

  • Donald Roessler

    The “facts” about this serial tresspasser can be seen in this story about this case.

    \http://naturalgasnow.org/a-lesson-in-fractivist-bullying-media-manipulation/\

  • Tim Tingley

    You people have apparently bought into cabot’s desperate self- victimization. A grandmother telling the truth about their practices is a public safety issue? That is Robespierre level insanity.Thomas Jefferson put it best “Those who trade freedom for safety deserve and will receive neither”. How can citizens protect THIER resources when the judges and multimillion dollar international corporations conspire to silence and mischarecterize legitimate public health and safety concerns.Why don’t cabot and Corbett form a “committee on public safety” has a nice ring to it doesn’t it.

  • Tim Tingley

    akprocabot is most likely cabot pr spewing vile insults. cabot is also voting on comments. That is pathetic.
    can you believe they hire people to manipulate public discussion forums?

  • Brett Jennings

    I have been noticing certain comments have been removed, even ones that point out some activity in violation of title 18 section 5102 with the demonstrations in and around the courthouse.

  • Brett Jennings

    One good question is how much money in fines has Vera caused in the last few years. I can think of two just from OSHA in 2013 that she called in.

    I find it a shame that some people from NY decided to illegally picket the Susquehanna County Court House.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wendylynnelee/13387237735/in/set-72157642865631153

    Offense defined.–A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree if he intentionally interferes with, obstructs or impedes the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness or court officer in the discharge of his duty, pickets or parades in or near any building housing a court of this Commonwealth, or in or near a building or residence occupied by or used by such judge, juror, witness or court officer, or with such intent uses any sound-truck or similar device, or resorts to any other demonstration in or near any such building or residence.

    • Tim Tingley

      aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand……….you have brought anonymous into the picture.lol now this topic will be picketed and protested regardless of you’re industry sponsored threats

  • Susq. Resident

    Vera has made her own bed, and is mad that she now has to lie in it. She has broken the law, and has trespassed. She may have had permission from some landowner’s but not all. And the State/Township does not own a 35′ right of way for all roads, as it varies for each road and potentially each section of road. Agreeing or disagreeing with her point of view does not make her actions right.

    • Tim Tingley

      normal people don’t cite obscure comments in yahoo chats to try to vaguely insinuate someone is a pervert. Paid pr firms engaged in psy- ops trying to influence someone’s opinion of a political figure do that.I know attempted character assassination when i see it.This situation is crazy. get ready for josh fox, Luke Rudowski and Alex Jones to get involved.If you live in nepa,and don’t know who they are.Look them up.Here comes the cavalry.

  • Tim Tingley

    The real questions here are . 1. how much does cabot pay Judge Seamens for his prostitution of OUR rights. 2. who wrote the talking points for wnep and the pro cabot protesters. My guess
    was it was a pr hack for cabot who was literally trained in military psy-op disinformation campaigns. This issue was intentionally presented with a bias against this woman. There were 10x more people there supporting her and wnep ignored them. Just like how they gave cabots lawyer an opportunity to explain his extreme position in opposition to our basic rights . Her lawyers were not even interviewed. All of the information in this story is either cabots side of the story, or designed to subtly give you the impression the grandmother defending her rights was on the offensive and cabot was being reasonable. This is what corporate facism looks like.

  • Karen A

    She has caused more trouble and heartache to the people of Susquehanna county than the drilling companies. She continually trespasses on private property of the land owners and sets up video cameras in front of people’s homes. She is borderline stalking many of the residence in the area. I believe in freedom of speech, but I do not believe she has the right to harass these people who are just trying to live their lives.

    • Mick

      If we had more people like her maybe the people in Dimmick would actually have water they can drink, maybe the homeowners in Colorado and New Mexico wouldn’t be abandoning their homes and getting sick and dying. Fracking is killing our freshwater supplies and making people sick all over the United States and all anyone cares about is a few thousand dollars in their pocket to lease their land to these companies that can care less if you live or die. They are preying on people that don’t have a lot of money to begin with and the people are willing to sell their health and well being to put food on the table, hopefully the food and water is from somewhere else because their property will be useless once they start drilling. Wake Up Notheast PA, fracking is no good for anyone!

      • Kim

        Well Rick, we do have water to drink in Dimock. Thanks for your concern. We the property owners of Susquehanna county will pay our property taxes and do what we want with our property. You wouldn’t like it if we came to your house and stood on your lawn and protested.

      • Guy VanHorn-McLain

         IF Vera was out ransacking the environment in wholesale rape. You should ! What those Cretins are doing effects land for miles and miles from the point of penetrating the earth. You need to find out the real dirt on their business. And good bloody luck with that!

      • Mick

        Kim, I’m glad the water situation is better in Dimock, sorry for the spelling. It took long enough for something to be done about it. As far as protesting goes, I would hope someone had the fortitude to stand up for what is right. Natural Gas is only a bridge fuel, and I use that term with some reserve, it will run out soon enough anyway. The lasting impact it will have on your property as well as all across the country will far outlast its benefits. The only reason they are allowed to keep doing what they are doing is because the states are making way more money than any of the property owners will ever see. It’s all about money, the state of PA doesn’t care about you or the taxes you pay, it’s a drop in the bucket, they only care about what’s underneath the property you think you own but really don’t. Unfortunately there are many people out there that feel the same way you do so this will continue to happen, good luck in the future, I hope the situation in Dimock continues to remain positive for you and your neighbors.

  • Billl D

    Funny to see the lady in the Mink coat on the court house steps holding a sign that says “Vera get off our land” LOL Of course she wants her out of here, she may cut into her profits that pay for that coat! LOL
    These people are trading cold hard cash for our environment and I’m sorry but that is an awful trade! There is no reason what so ever that this entire country shouldn’t have solar, wind and aquatic energy running everything and heating all our homes for free!

  • Dory Hippauf

    A corporation has the power to ban a REAL PERSON to this extent? What’s wrong with this picture? George Orwell had it right, he was just off by a few years.

  • akprocabot

    Vera Scroggins with a camera is no different than the 330 million other people in this nation or 7 billion people on this planet. Anyone other than the property owners or those involved in drilling operations are trespassing. That is illegal. Period. Cut and dry, open and closed, black and white. Even with cameras and strong opinions, she is no different. She intentionally repeatedly commits criminal acts and the proper legal action should be taken against her. There shouldnt be a court case to discuss the simple enforcement of a basic law.

  • Choosyone

    Her lawyers stated that when asked to leave a property, Vera complies. I’m not a lawyer, but, I know that “purgery” is the correct term for that statement. Fact is, Vera has filmed herself refusing to leave locations and landowners have asked her to leave and she states she has the right of way 35 feet from the road to be on their property. A lot of people are glad Cabot is taking this further and in the process, helping the landowners to prevent her from trespassing and bringing tours onto their property. Beware though, as there are others like Vera who may be willing to take her place.

    • Guy

      I recommend 50,000 bees in one hive to take her place on every drill raping site on the planet!Then have them tested for chemicals and let the whole hideous truth be told. Bring the industry, Cabot, Nomac and all the rest to their greedy filthy knees! They need to go on unemployment or to prison !

  • Choosyone

    Even with the temporary injunction, she still states publicly she will put her self in harms way. Her lawyers are defending someone who will not obey the law. It does not seem like she will be able to avoid violating.

  • akprocabot

    Its the law. You cannot trespass. Period. Even if its something you feel strongly about and arm yourself with 100 cameras, nothing gives anyone the right to go on peoples private land/land leased by Cabot. If this is the case, then Vera should welcome all of Susquehanna County to traipse across her land and shove cameras in her face. Maybe at such a time, the county could tape her response when asked questions of her theories of child sexuality posted to Yahoo Groups. Cabot is merely asking for a law to be enforced. Its sad shes such an illegal nuissance theyd have to take any special action to remind her she cant trespass on other peoples land.

  • F2015D

    She seems kind of phony to me. The shot of her asking were her press conference is? Seemed rehearsed. And the reasons why random people can just walk onto one of those things seems pretty obvious to me.

    • Tim Tingley

      Regardless of the amount of poor education and propaganda you people have been exposed to the following is true 1. judge Seamens and Cabot have no right to restrict this woman’s travel or constitutionally protected free speech 2..The real story here is that WNEP is now producing propaganda to attack its corporate sponsors. those Cabot supporters were parroting designed talking points. this whole report was designed to pit neighbor vs neighbor. so Cabot can keep polluting our air and water and ruin our quality of life.you people are following the pied piper. WNEP is proud to serve Cabot oil and gas NOT Susquehanna county. p.s. I am a lifelong Susquehanna county resident

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