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Sudden Wealth from Gas Rush Fractures Pennsylvania Communities

The gas industry’s promise of prosperity has cleaved some communities and frayed the fabric that traditionally binds small towns together

By Elizabeth McGowan, SolveClimate News

May 18, 2011

More than two decades ago, Senick and her family fled Philadelphia for the rural refuge of a 15-acre "farmette" in Susquehanna County. She and her husband knew they were moving their four young children to a conservative, somewhat insular region where outspokenness is frowned upon, but they figured the tradeoff for fresh food, clean air and water was worth it.

Senick moved to Montrose after her children grew up. Now, the 54-year-old can't bear to visit the land she left behind because the surrounding countryside is pockmarked with drilling rigs and their abundant accompanying infrastructure.

"They are talking about the possibility of hundreds, maybe even thousands of wells here," she says with grimace. "It's a nightmare."

Tomorrow, part six: Industry reacts to its critics

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