Cabot Oil and Gas -v- Mrs Scroggins

Mrs Scroggins might be a name that Charles Dickens would have used in one of his novels, perhaps for a kindly nurse. Dickens was good with names. However the real Mrs Scroggins is a retired nurse and grandmother who lives in Susquehanna County which is in Pennsylvania. The name of the county indicates its origins as land once owned by native Americans, long since vanished from the Pennsylvanian landscape, and now other Americans are trustees and guardians of the land.

Mrs Scroggins opposes fracking. She is entitled to oppose it and make her opposition known. The frackers in question are the Cabot Oil & Gas Company and in the course of her opposition Mrs Scroggins has apparently trespassed on the company’s land on eleven occasions and uploaded videos of her visits to YouTube. As far as I know she did not physically damage the land, just took videos of what is going on there, which can hardly qualify as a secret whether of the industrial or any other kind.

The Cabot people however did not like the idea of Mrs Scroggins trespassing on their land and probably liked the videos she took going public even less so they obtained a temporary injunction against her which prevents Mrs Scroggins from

“entering upon property owned and/or leased by Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation including but not limited to well sites, well pads and access roads.”

However Cabot leases subsurface rights to more than 200,000 acres across the state, including around 40 per cent of Susquehanna County, which stops Mrs Scroggins for visiting much of the county, including her friends homes, the local grocers, hospital and recycling centre, the latter of which I expect Mrs Scroggins would wish to visit frequently.

It seems that there is some doubt as to whether an injunction can restrain someone from visiting land which have the sub surface leased to a fracking company and Mrs Scroffins lawyers are contesting the injunction, which Cabot claims was sought only to prevent Mrs Scroggins from injuring herself by getting to close to fracking operations.

Of course, Cabot would claim, I imagine, that there is no chance of their fracking operations injuring any resident of Susquehanna County, but the residents will have to take their chances on that as no court will restrain the fracking operations being carried out by Cabot.

However, if you care to view Mrs Scroggins videos on you tube you might find that there is some cause for alarm at the way in which fracking operations are carried out.

I wish the retired nurse the best in her endeavours to educate the people of he neighbourhood about the way in which the fracking operations are being carried out, and hope that the court will show sense and overturn the injunction, although I fear that the interests of business and money over ordinary folk may well continue to prevail.