Judge lifts land restrictions against anti-fracking activist

By Erika Mahoney

Judge lifts land restrictions against anti-fracking activist

March 28, 2014 Updated Mar 28, 2014 at 11:59 PM EDT

Montrose, PA, (WBNG Binghamton) A Susquehanna County judge lifted a restraining order imposed on an anti-fracking activist.

According to Citizen Action of New York, Susquehanna County Judge Kenneth Seaman narrowed the injunction Friday against activist Vera Scroggins, 63.

The lawsuit was originally brought by the Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation in October 2013. It stopped Scroggins from accessing about 300 square miles of land where Cabot had a lease. On that land, however, is the grocery store Scroggins shops at, the homes of several friends and the nearest hospital.

The judge ruled the injunction was over-broad and violated Scroggins' First Amendment right.

The revised injunction bans Scroggins from Cabot-owned land only and within 100 feet of an active well pad and the pad's connecting access roads.

Public Citizen Attorney Scott Michelman said, "Today's ruling is a big victory for Vera and for advocates everywhere [...] Today's ruling shows that big gas companies like Cabot can't punish advocates for their speech."

Still, he added they are not stopping there. He said he has concerns about whether the 100 foot buffer may cover areas Scroggins uses. He plans to address that issue at trial on May 1.

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