To Those Saying Gas and Oil is Destroying Our Environment

September 8, 2017

[This story is from Anthony Caldarelli, Vets4Energy volunteer chairman in Pennsylvania.]

A few pictures that I thought I would share.

The first picture is Oil Creek Valley during the founding of the oil industry. Of course, in the 1800's, no thought was given to environmental protection and one would think the valley was destroyed forever. We would never do anything like this today.

The second picture is more recent in what is now Oil Creek State Park. With virtually no intentional remediation planned, the environment overcame all and the creek is now one of the best trout streams in a state known for trout fishing.

Sulphur Mayfly thrives at Oil Creek, PA The Oil Creek Valley is also a favorite home of the Ephemerella dorothea, AKA a "Sulphur" Mayfly. Mayflies (like trout) are known as "indicator species," needing cold, clean water to survive. And the best mayfly hatch I have ever seen wasn't on the Madison in Montana, or Henry's Fork in Idaho, or even River Eden in the fells of northern England. It was on Oil Creek.

My absolute favorite place is in and around Potter County (aka "God's Country," in the north central region of Pennsylvania). Wharton, PA (population 91, whose motto is "Do your sportin' in Wharton") is at the epicenter of great hunting and fishing.

This is a photo of Wharton's "downtown business loop." In the foreground is the general store (gas, live bait, clothes, canned goods, soft drinks, hand-tied flies, souvenirs, hand dipped ice cream). Behind the store is the bar (beer, beer, freshly thawed fried food).

Behind the bar (out of picture) is the East Fork of Sinnemahoning Creek. In front of the bar (also out of picture) is the First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek: great trout streams both.

Behind the bar, across the creek and up the hill is a Williams Pipeline pumping station. How important is Gas and Oil to this fabulous recreational area? Well, the object circled in orange that looks like a planter is actually a tri-cone bit from a drilling rig. Cemented right into the sidewalk like art.

Another way of determining how important Gas and Oil work is in the region is by looking at this map of pipelines. That big jumble of pipelines in north central PA, that's the heart of "God's Country."

I have been in love with God's Country all my life. The only time the gas and oil industry impacted my fun at all was my most recent trip. I hooked a 26 or 27-inch brown trout (to the uninitiated, that's a big fish) on a dry fly and got a little careless - the fish took me under the gas pipeline that runs across the stream at that point and broke me off. My fault actually. Not the pipeline's. The silver lining is that my fishing partner, a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, took a video, and in that video, I sounded like Mr. Quint from the movie Jaws: "This is a big fish Chief, a big smart fish."

My earliest memories of the area were from when I was a little boy. We would go up to "God's Country" in the winter, to go tobogganing... on the gas pipeline right of ways.

Yes - it's a terrible thing.

Anthony Caldarelli
Vets4Energy volunteer chairman, Pennsylvania

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