Pennsylvania citizen intimidated for video taping drilling accident

Last week I posted photos of billboards paid for by citizens in Pennsylvania worried about the environmental impacts of living near natural gas production operations. Two of those photos were taken by Vera Scroggins, and Vera kindly gave me permission to post them.

One day this week I got to work and read an e-mail from Vera that was very disturbing. She wrote that her neighbor called her after he answered a knock on his front door at 7:30 one morning. Here is Vera's report:

"...a man and woman were there -- looking for me --- had my description and the color and make of my car and were aggressively asking to find me and were workers of the pipeline--they wanted to know where I live and my phone number....."

Vera also reports that "yesterday, a worker stopped me on the road as I was looking at the spill site and he told me that I'm in trouble for posting on youtube and took my license number on the car--wouldn't give me his name or any info--  but I felt threatened...."

Vera is referring to a pipeline-related spill that I blogged about recently, where drilling mud has been spilled four times into Laurel Lake Creek during drilling of a natural gas pipeline. Vera called the owner of the Laser Northeast Pipeline, who told her that these workers are employees of a contractor and that he will "let them know that this is totally unacceptable to intimidate people."

NRDC has previously called for natural gas producers to improve their corporate safety culture with corporate-wide safety and environmental management systems and standards. We've mentioned the need for anonymous tip lines, protections for whistleblowers, and mandatory reporting of accidents and violations, among other things. 

Now, sadly, we have to add to that list the need for corporate standards when it comes to interacting with citizens.Whether it is a worker or a resident, anyone with information about a problem should be supported and respected when they report.