A high-profile anti-fracking activist who often gives tours of natural gas drilling sites in northeastern Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region asked a judge Monday for relief from an order barring her from stepping foot on more than 300 square miles of land owned or leased by one of the state's leading natural gas drillers.
Vera Scroggins said the injunction, in place since October, has effectively prevented her from traveling to her favorite grocery store, eye doctor, hospital, restaurants, businesses and friends' homes because all of them have leased land to Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.
Her attorneys asked Susquehanna County Judge Kenneth Seamans to lift or modify his order. A ruling could come this week.
"It's tough to try to figure out, where can I stand? Where can I walk?" Scroggins said after the hearing in Montrose. "I never used to have to think about that. It's not a pleasant thing to endure."
A company spokesman said Cabot is only interested in preventing the activist from trespassing on its active drilling sites and contended that Scroggins, who's used to attracting media attention, is simply out for more publicity.
Scroggins regularly gives bus tours to politicians, community groups, and anti-fracking celebrities such as Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Susan Sarandon, showing them drilling sites, pipelines, compressor stations and other signs of Pennsylvania's burgeoning gas industry and introducing them to residents who say they've been harmed. She often posts videos of natural gas production sites online.
Cabot said it sought the order because Scroggins habitually trespassed onto its land, putting herself and her guests in harm's way, distracting employees from their work and interfering with natural gas production. Each time, Scroggins was ordered to leave or escorted off the property and told not to come back, but she refuses to stay away, the company said.
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