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20140310-Vera-Scroggins

Vera Scroggins sounds like a total crank -- I'm not 100 percent sure I'd want her on my property, even though I clearly agree with much of her environmental politics. But isn't this a little, um, extreme?

A judge has signed off on an order which bars an anti-fracking activist from setting foot on more than 300 square miles–or nearly 40 percent–of Susquehanna county. It’s all the land owned or leased by the area’s biggest driller, Cabot Oil and Gas.

Although Cabot asked for the court order, a spokesman for the company says it didn’t mean for it to be so broad.

I don't pretend to be an expert on property law, but when you lease the mineral rights to a farm, for example, then wouldn't the farmer be the one who decides who's trespassing, and not the gas company? Indeed, here's what one of Cabot's leaseholders says:

Meanwhile some landowners, like Jerry Gere, who have leases with the company argue it shouldn’t dictate who is allowed to come and go from their property.

“Vera gets in their face. She’s aggressive. I can understand where she could definitely annoy people,” he says. “But on the other hand, it seems like we have this little old lady in tennis shoes, and the huge oil company is running scared. If they don’t have anything to hide, why are they putting up such a fight?”

I'm not sure what's more disturbing here -- the free speech issues, or the fact that Big Gas seems to own the legal and political infrastructure in some of these smaller Pennsylvania counties. Here in Philadelphia, some people are willing to go to jail on a related cause...fighting the Keystone XL pipeline:

Police in Philadelphia are starting to arrest a group of activists staging a protest over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

About 40 environmentalists Monday have risked arrest by blocking an entrance to the William J. Green Building, near Independence Mall.

Approximately 100 others are on hand to support the Earth Quaker Action Team protest.

Maybe that cranky Vera Scroggins started something, after all.

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