| SUNBURY, Pa., March 28
SUNBURY, Pa., March 28 A judge on Friday
loosened an injunction restricting the movements of a
Pennsylvania anti-fracking activist to allow her access to her
local hospital, grocery and other places declared off-limits
because they sat atop land leased for gas extraction.
Until Judge Kenneth Seamans eased the terms of the
injunction, Vera Scroggins, 63, of Brackney, Pennsylvania was
banned from 40 percent of the land in Susquehanna County, where
she lives and which is leased by Texas-based Cabot Oil & Gas Co
for gas extraction.
Seamans, the sole judge in Susquehanna County Court of
Common Pleas in Montrose, Pennsylvania, issued a new injunction
on Friday barring Scroggins from the active gas extraction
operations of the company and the access roads that serve them.
The judge ruled she must not climb on the company's
equipment and facilities when she shoots her anti-fracking
videos, which she posts on YouTube, and conducts anti-fracking
tours of the area, which she has done for actress Susan
Sarandon, Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon.
In general, she must stay at least 100 feet away from
Cabot-owned land and well pads, he ruled. The company had asked
for 150 feet.
"This is a big victory for Vera Scroggins," said Scott
Michelman, a lawyer with the Public Citizen Litigation Group in
Washington, D.C., who represents the activist. "The court
recognized it was inappropriate to severely restrict an
advocate's daily activities."
Scroggins had proposed a 50-foot exclusion zone, so the
judge in effect split the difference.
"Cabot is satisfied by the court's decision to maintain an
injunction against Ms. Scroggins," the company said in a
"The court's ruling not only protects Cabot and its
employees, contractors and others but it keeps landowners from
being exposed to liability that could arise from Scroggins'
actions," Cabot said in the statement.
Scroggins is a long-time opponent of energy drilling in
northeastern Pennsylvania, especially the method of hydraulic
fracturing, or fracking, the controversial process of injecting
water, chemicals and sand into underground shale formations to
extract oil and gas.
The use of fracking in the United States has increased
dramatically in recent years as drillers found ways to extract
more hydrocarbons from shale. The boom has transformed parts of
northern Pennsylvania and divided communities drawn by the
monetary rewards that energy production brings, but concerned by
its impact on the environment.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg. Editing by Andre Grenon)