Unsettling glimpse of Tiers' future

This time next summer odds are that hydro-fracking deep below the earth's crust and perhaps dangerously near Southern Tier aquifers will be a reality, one that many in the Southern Tier fear. A recent foray into Pennsylvania near Wellsboro gave me a glimpse of the drilling future of the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes.

I didn't like what I saw or heard.

What hits the onlooker instantly is the noise, the smells and the never-ending stream of truck traffic that has transformed beautifully quaint Wellsboro into a miniaturized Times Square environment. Replace New York City's cars and cabs with dump trucks and tanker trucks, odors peculiar to large cities with the smell of diesel, tar, gas and drifting mini-clouds of dust, and you get a picture. The quaintness is still there but it is no longer memorable.

Drive south a few miles and take nearly any rural byway in the shadows of Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon, once pristine, now rutted with dusty, muddy byways, depending on the weather. Along the way you'll see dozens and dozens of roadside signs: No Stopping, Keep Driving, No Dumping, Do Not Discharge Waste Here, Keep Out and the occasional No Frack signs. You get the feeling that not everyone is happy with the drilling.

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