Posted by By Eric Zager at 7 October, at 19 : 19 PM
Denise Dennis’ family, whose line is African-American; was among the first settlers in Brooklyn Township, Susquehanna County.
Her ancestors arrived in the 1800′s with something most blacks could only dream of: Freedom.
Dennis’ great, great, great, grandfather fought under General George Washington, during the Revolutionary War.
Her family farm is home to stone walls, a spring, and an almost 200 year old cemetery. Her ancestors are buried there along with runaways that died while negotiating the underground railroad. Dennis’ says her family, at great risk, opened its doors to slaves escaping from the south.
The Smithsonian Institute is extremely interested in the property and the artifacts — calling it a place of national historical significance.
The 150 acre farm has survived slavery and wars, but Dennis does not believe it will stay intact; if the Senate passes a natural gas tax that includes a provision for forced pooling.
Pooling would give gas and oil companies the right to drill underneath property against the will of homeowners. That’s right — drillers could gain access to land without permission, let alone a signed lease.
Energy companies have tried to lease the rights, but Dennis remains steadfast in her decision not to be bought out. She once called Cabot, one of the companies that expressed interest; Dennis says a representative told her they would “drill under the cemetery if seismic studies show the presence of shale”, Dennis retorted, “what about the cemetery,” the man told her, ” it is so far under the graves what difference does it make.” Dennis declined to identify the person; fearing retaliation.
Cabot did not return phone calls to RocktheCapital.
Dennis firmly believes that fracking will irreversibly damage the property, and she fears the chemicals used to frack the land will destroy the spring as well as the pastoral scenery not to mention artifacts waiting to be discovered.
“Pennsylvania has this wonderful history, and they want to destroy it,” said Dennis.
Dennis was among a handful of people that appeared at the Capitol on Thursday to protest forced pooling. Underscoring the point, that giving energy companies access to private property without permission violates Pennsylvania’s Constitution.
She describes her property as, “a living, breathing, member of your family, ” forced pooling, Dennis said amounts to “theft.”
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