It was a scene reminiscent of the spotted owl protests in the northwest.
Two anti-fracking activists had shinnied up a tree 75 feet in the air at the entrance to a drilling site in Moshannon State Forest on Sunday. Their perch was dependent on a cable strung across the entrance in an effort to prohibit equipment from entering the site.
They were successful in shutting down EQT Corp.'s operation at least temporarily and in getting press coverage of their protest.
The problem with such action is that they really don't accomplish very much.
EQT is not breaking any laws by drilling on the site on state land. The state had approved the operation and leased the subsurface rights to the company, which paid the state an initial fee and promised a percentage of the take from any natural gas produced there.
It's a straight-forward transaction.
We'll happily move all the barricades when the equipment moves out," said one of the protestors.
We'll be that the barricades will move out before that.
Every group has a right to protest government policies and actions they don't agree with, and we'll be the first to defend that right. However, grandstanding in the woods is not only ineffective, but portrays the protesters in a bad light, thus ultimately undermining their position.
Whether you agree with gas production on state-owned or not, the place to make your feelings known is in that big domed building in Harrisburg. That's where the decision was made.
EQT is simply completing a transaction with the state that was initiated more than a hundred miles away.