On The Trail With Dave Kagan

Pine Creek Valley Suffering From Marcellus Shale Gas Invasion Of Trucks
By David Ira Kagan

On Wednesday, October 27, 2010, I sat on a folding chair at the White Tail Parking Access of the Pine Creek Rail Trail just off Route 44 a couple miles above Jersey Shore. And I counted for two-and-a-half hours—from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. I counted water tanker trucks that barreled and roared past me. I counted construction trucks and trucks carrying machinery and various materials, almost all, no doubt, associated with the gas-drilling industry.
The final tally: 55 water tanker trucks (40 of them the long, 18-wheeled semis) and 29 construction/excavation/materials trucks. That’s 84 trucks in 150 minutes, or roughly one every two minutes.
Lately, this has been going on 24 hours a day. Trust me. I know. I live in Torbert Village right above White Tail. And I am really suffering from the noise of these trucks going up and down Route 44 constantly.
I suffer during the day when I ride my bicycle on the Pine Creek Rail Trail, which goes right by my home. Riding either north toward Waterville or south toward Jersey Shore, I am assaulted with the constant prolonged roar of these trucks. It used to be such a great, calming pleasure to bicycle on the trail (I’ve pedaled over 5000 miles this year), but now I can’t help but get angry hearing the constant clamor. It used to be mostly just the gentle sounds of the flowing creek and the warbling of birds. No longer.
I suffer during the day and evening when I go into my living room at the back of my home beside Pine Creek. I try to read or write or watch television, even with the side door and windows shut, but still I am interrupted and disturbed by the deafening din of truck traffic up on 44, at least one bellowing EVERY minute or two.
I suffer at night when I try to sleep. The hour doesn’t matter--10 p.m., midnight, 2 a.m., 4 a.m., 6 a.m.—I lie awake just knowing that the sound of rolling tires, acceleration and braking will disturb me again and again and again, without reprieve.
What makes it even worse is that I can hear each truck’s noise for about the duration of one minute from where I live--roughly the amount of time it takes for each to pass from south to north (or vice versa) into and out of my geographical range of hearing.
And I have other deep concerns related to the truck traffic. What will be the effect of the terrible noise on wildlife along Pine Creek? What will be the effect on humans, wildlife and plants along Pine Creek of the increased pollution due to the emissions from all the trucks?
Whether the chemical-laden “fracked” water will cause problems in the future is still debatable. Whether methane gas will seep into Pine Creek and the wells along it in the future is still debatable. What isn’t debatable is that the truck traffic related to Marcellus shale gas drilling is already causing suffering.
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