Seismic Company Pulls River Road Testing Equipment


According to an eyewitness report received this morning  by Breathing,  “They’ve [Dawson Geophysical, the seismic testing company] just pulled up stakes, cables, and wires and will not be thumping on our road.”

The “road”  referred to is a portion of  The River Road  located between Milanville, PA and the Narrowsburg Bridge at Rte  652.

Earlier reports suggested some of Dawson’s seismic cables “were rendered unusable”   last night.

Yesterday,  workers who characterized themselves as  “surveyors,”  were seen at several locations preparing for today’s seismic testing.  According to first-hand accounts,  at least three landholders showed the workers signs that read,  “No Trespassing”  and “Seismic Testing Prohibited On This Property.”  When the workers acknowledged the signs,  the landholders requested they vacate the “private land” immediately.  Also according to first-hand reports,  many of the surveyors  had Michigan license plates and at least a few stated they worked for a contracting company out of Michigan.

Other reports surfaced of landowners removing seismic testing wires from “privately-held”  rights-of-way and front yards.

Early yesterday evening,  a No Trespassing notice —  reportedly written by Attorney Jeff Zimmerman who’s been  working with the Damascus Citizens —  was widely-circulated  for use by interested landholders.  As of this morning, several area residents were  reproducing the notice for posting on their properties.

In an effort to obtain an independent explanation of Dawson’s  reported actions and their significance going forward,  Breathing has placed calls to representatives of Dawson Geophysical,  Hess Energy (in Honesdale, PA), Frontline  and Newfield’s headquarters in Houston, Texas.

Mr. Jeff Sleder, of Frontline,  said his Texas employer  “works with Dawson to get road permits for seismic testing.   All I know from Jeff Forney is that Dawson’s omitting 100 pin flags from the testing on the southern-most stretch of  that road.  Looking at the map I have here in my office, it’s hard to say exactly,  but it looks like a stretch of about two miles or so.”  (Mr. Forney is  a Dawson representative  assigned to our local area.)

Mr. Sleder explained that  the pin flags are what the industry calls the  orange flags  residents have seen sprouting up along  roadsides in Pennsylvania.  “Those pin flags  are where the seismic crews would normally lay out  their sensors.  They’re the places they  stop  and do the vibrating.”

According to the map Mr. Sleder was looking at in Texas,  “The area where those flags have been pulled up looks like about two miles.  Two miles is too small an area for the  company to return to for  the testing.”  That last was in response to  Breathing wondering whether  that portion of the River Road would be “thumped” in the future.

When Breathing asked who had made the decision to pull the pin flags and why,  Mr. Sleder said, “Mr. Forney didn’t make the decision but he might be able to say who did.” (Breathing has left  three messages for  Mr. Forney since first receiving the news of equipment being pulled off the River Road and has not  heard back.)

The Hess office in Honesdale directed Breathing to  Mr. Kelly Birch in Newfield’s Houston office where another request for a call-back was left.

Removal of the pin flags on the River Road  does not signal  a wider abandonment of  seismic testing in other areas of  the Towns of Damascus, Manchester or even  Milanville.  Last week,  Dawson’s surveyor flags dotted  the Calkins Creek Road which is home to a proposed test well site.  The road is a narrow, single-lane  dirt road, one side  of which has frequent steep descents  to the tributary creek below.

Some messages left by Breathing stated that  a lack of information concerning seismic testing might have  exacerbated local anxiety about the process, its purposes and impacts.