I recently visited Marcellus country in Pennsylvania. I was awed by the beauty of the land after the drilling is done and the land reclaimed. This is in stark contrast to the pastoral poverty that is typical of the southern tier in New York. Here are the pictures that I took:

Wyalusing, PA

This is Wyalusing, PA, in the fall. The Susquehana River flows quietly by the farmsteads. The area in the picture has been drilled for Marcellus Shale gas, and is in the middle of gas production. All the well pads have been reclaimed. Only open meadows remain. Can you see the wells in the picture? No, we can’t either. You won’t see the well heads unless you drive up right next to them.

Notice how beautiful the farmsteads are. They are all in good repair and freshly painted. The barns have new roofs on them. These buildings were all dilapidated just a few years ago, before the economic boom brought along by gas development. Should also note that the fields are all neatly planted. No, the farmers did not move away with their new found fortunes. They just keep farming.

Stamford, NY

A common sight in the NYC Watershed. This is farm country in Stamford. This seems like a pristine rural scene. Well, not quite. The farm buildings are all in disrepair. Part of the main building collapsed and is left to decay. The farmhouse is unoccupied. What was once active farmland has been abandoned, left to weeds.

This is what happens when farmers do not have the right to use their land to make a living, in New York.

- Doug Lee

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