Vera Scroggins, a Pennsylvania grandmother who gives tours of her local area to people interested in knowing more about fracking, could be jailed for her work. Cabot Gas and Oil has been trying to stop her citizen tours by using false claims to place a legal injunction against her. Cabot's attack on Vera reached a zenith this Spring when an industry worker falsely testified that Vera Scroggins violated the court's order.
Vera has many witnesses who testified that the worker was wrong and Vera was well within the boundary set for her by the injunction. But the judge, who has financial interests in the gas industry - rejected the testimony of three witnesses and accepted the testimony of the singular gas worker who had no proof of his claims.
Why is Cabot so dead set on punishing Mrs. Scroggins? Cabot takes this approach with anyone who defies them. The corporation uses local media propagandists and local pro-gas groups to harass, intimidate and obstruct all opposition. This time Cabot Gas and Oil hopes to jail a critic based on false testimony.
Vera is encouraging anyone in the area to come to the Montrose Courthouse on Thursday, April 23, at 1:30 to stand in support of democracy, decency and justice.
Letter from Vera Scroggins:
"Come and witness my fifth court hearing concerning Cabot Oil and Gas, a billion dollar Gas Company suing me, Vera Scroggins, concerned resident and citizen of Susquehanna County. I have been documenting with videos, photos, and gas tours, of Cabot and other shale gas companies in my county since 2008. Unfortunately, they continue to industrialize our rural towns, villages, and expose us to the water, air, land pollution, in addition to heavy truck traffic. The road damage caused by this heavy-truck traffic is the worst I've seen in my 25 years of residency. I can not stand, stop or park within 100 feet of a Cabot driveway, and cannot be within 100' of their gas sites.
On Feb. 25, 2015, during a court hearing, Cabot produced a gas worker who testified under oath that I had violated these restrictions by parking on a Cabot driveway/access road in Dimock, Pa., on 1/16/2015. However, he had no photographs of this even though he produced a photo of me legally at the next door neighbor's driveway, where I have permission to be... I have two witnesses and myself who deny that I was on or near Cabot's driveway. I was parked about 672 feet away at the next door neighbor's driveway where I let out my visitors and waited for them to come back.
I have witnesses who testified under oath that I was not with them on or near the Cabot driveway.But Judge Seamans believed the gas worker more than us and found me in contempt. This Thursday, April 23, at 1:30 I am to be sentenced. He may be willing to hear and consider the testimony of additional witnesses on my behalf. My intention has always been to follow Judge Seamans' injunction.
Nevertheless, the Judge can order punishment of fines, jail, and legal costs that Cabot has incurred. Also, at this hearing he will hear more testimony from both sides about whether to place a permanent injunction on me for the rest of my life.
Come and witness all the citizens who stand up to the abusive power of the shale gas industries and are willing to expose what is happening. I am asking for all to hold a space of support, peace, light, and love, for myself and all in the courtroom no matter their position on the issue. Thank you. I and others are grateful for all the support we are receiving"