Meet the Headleys

Headley Family   Photo credit: Stephanie Strasberg

“It’s already too late for us.” That is what Linda Headley said to me, the last time I saw her. I looked around and saw her beautiful family and once beautiful landscape and realized that she was right. There was little to nothing that could be done to change their situation, other than getting the DEP to do the job it should have but hadn’t done. Shining the light of media on the situation should help with that.

It is what Linda said after that inspired me to share their struggle, publicly. She said, “But if we can help other people not make the same mistakes that we did, then that is what we want to do. I bet there are a lot of other people out there like us, that are or were afraid to speak out. Now, we just want people to know the truth.”

Well, that is something that I CAN do and do well: get the truth out. SO, SHARE AND SHARE WIDELY FOR THE HEADLEYS SAKE!

Seven years ago the Headleys bought their dream property. They intended to live and work the land, in semi retirement, to leave a legacy for their sons. Now this is their story. So, where is their Range Resource commercial? Cue corny, folksy music, read and watch.

Our names are David & Linda Headley. We have been residents of Fayette County for 28 years. We have owned our current residence for seven years. Since then, the natural gas industry has stolen our land, polluted our streams, polluted our air, made our family and animals ill, and disrupted our our peaceful way of life.
Our rural community in Springhill township before the natural gas boom invaded was quiet, serene, safe, picturesque small town America, situated along the Monongahela and Cheat rivers, nestled in the foothills of the glorious Allegheny mountains. Life here was quiet. This was a beautiful place to live and raise our family, far from the bustle of the city, rich with country charm and character. That was before the drilling.

We first noticed the gas activity when bulldozers invaded our hayfields to build access roads to wellpads. It began only about 6 weeks after we signed on the land, having bought it with the mineral rights, but without the oil and gas rights. Since coal mining was the issue around here and there had been little to no gas activity left in the area, we were made not to worry about the potential for development, and moved ahead with plans to build our dream home. This was before anyone knew the name Marcellus. Yet, in 7 years time the man who owns the rights has put 4 shallow wells, one Marcellus well,  and a pipeline across the property.  We had no idea they could do this to us or the land.
The truck traffic is constant. Land damages were of course immediate. Trucks, noise, dust, nomadic workers followed. Then came the polluting of our air and water, then deforestation and the destruction of fruit trees. They even managed to burn 10 acres of ground with a brush fire set with used motor oil from a bulldozer’s oil change !  Every hour, once an hour it sounds like a landing jet visits our once quiet farm as wells ” sell “.

Then come the transmission pipelines – – -more nomadic workers and thousands of gallons of drilling chemicals in our beautiful, trout – stocked stream! We have even had multiple leaking wells for over a year, ignored by the operators, and now we have a spring 200 ft. from our house which is now so rich with gas it can be set on fire.  Sadly, doctor visits have become common place.   Our 4 year old son, Adam, has mysterious stomach issues that cripple him with pain; we do not have any answers, yet, but we are worried sick.

And why? All because of an uncaring, dirty industry, driven by greed, selling their souls, leaving our health, environment, and rights behind as waste.
When will this nightmare end ???

Dozens of neighbors and communities in whole have suffered. One next door neighbor’s well was contaminated. They had to get municipal water after the industry denied responsibility. We know of at least 3 families having serious health problems; they have had to seek legal assistance. Increased loads on rural roads have lead to numerous accidents / incidents. Crime in area has increased.

Our experience with our local and state officials and the DEP has been mostly not caring, not responding, or denial. Those who do care usually express feelings of helplessness or frustration. Most say the industry lobbying and money is hard to fight against. Others admit that they are now called the DEP  for Don’t Expect Protection and there in lies the truth.

Our once peaceful existence has forever changed. This industry is a loose canon; get a handle on it. Add layers of protection for all our people. Regulate, and hold the industry accountable.  Please slow the accelleration of this industry.  Safe extraction and concern for the environment is a must ! If we could put a man on the moon 40 years ago, we can find a better, safer, healthier way to fuel our future and our children’s future.

We have many photos, videos, water and soil samples, air samples are pending. Its too late for us. But we are willing to share anything that may help someone else. You can read more about our story and see other photos below:

If you would like to know more about how the Headley’s were removed from their land at gun point based on trumped up charges, or for an in depth tour of the land, the violations, the burning water, the selling of the well, and the story of the dog stuck in the frack pit straight from Linda’s mouth, then WATCH THIS:                  Click here for “Debunking Truthland” at the Headleys on Vimeo.

8 thoughts on “Meet the Headleys

  1. Beautifully written but terribly tragic story. My heart goes out to the Headleys. Shame on the state of PA for allowing this to happen and allowing it to continue.

  2. I am in tears, I am terrified, I am OUTRAGED!! Fracking must be stopped. It is so dangerous. I can’t believe how many citizens are turning a blind eye because of possible “jobs-creation” or out of deadly APATHY. Please, people, wake up and fight this filthy, greedy business…before it’s too late for you and your family…and it’s in your backyard, poisoning YOUR animals, YOUR land, and YOUR children. What will any of us have left after our water is gone?

  3. I want the people to know all that Linda said and shared is the TRUTH I myself have see their land once so beautiful that it would take your breath away, now your breath is taken away by the air and noise on this . Linda is not the only one out there but she has shared her story for others so they think before they let marcellus on their land. I live very close to the pump station and I am sick most of the time It is not on my land but so close to us that it has affected the way we live. It hurts all the people not only the ones who give the rights to the gas companies but all the families that live in that area. We only own a small piece of land so no one came to us to let us know about the drilling or how it was done so we were in the dark until our eyes were opened by the noise the trucks the smells and the closeness of the wells. One person or family can’t fight this alone but there are a lot of us out there so please join us and stop this fracking for gas.

  4. It’s a sad sick world when big business mortgages our children’s and grandchildren’s future with out a care except for the bottom line of their accounts. Teresa is correct, wake up world before it’s too late.

    As the Cree Indian prophecy said “When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.”

  5. What can be done to help the Headleys including legal remedies is what many should be asking at this time. The Headleys hypothetically have “standing” to sue both the corporations and/or business organizations responsible for these HAZMAT catastrophic events and to sue the state and local jurisdictions for not enforcing the Federal Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and other statutes and regulations as well as their coefficients in the state. My hypothetical suggestion to the Headleys is find a good environmental tort law counsel who is known (can be legally researched in local courthouse law library in your town or nearest city to your home) to assume such toxic tort cases on contingency and they have war chest to go after these. Suggested hypothetical litigative issues include violations of Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, private nuisance (tort), trespass to land (yes a pipeline and/or etc. can trespass across your land, deed may not specify easement access fully to include pipeline and toxic violations from pipeline would hypothetically invalidate deed’s easement and activate liability for the victim(s). Hypothetical damages must be ascertained early such as hypothetically speaking loss of use of the property, interference with owner’s exclusive right to enjoy and control Headley’s land, unauthorized access to land, hypothetical title attorney for Headley’s may have committed fraud when realty was transferred from prior owner to Headleys if then owner/title attorney knew that fracking was coming, etc.

  6. The Pennsylvania legislature (read Republicans) are totally in the pocket of the gas industry. Unfortunately, people in the Marcellus Shale area continue to vote them back into office. This will not stop unless there is a revolution at the ballot box and the entire Marcellus Shale area vote the incumbents out of office. If they continue to be reelected, it will be a tacit assumption that people like gas drilling and want it to continue.

  7. Pingback: Faces of Fracking: Meet the Headleys « Protecting Our Waters

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