Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Susan Sarandon Visit PA Fracking Sites

By Kelly McCarthy

January 17, 2013 Updated Jan 17, 2013 at 7:27 PM EDT

Montrose, PA (WBNG Binghamton) A bus filled with New York City residents and celebrities like Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon traveled the back country roads of Susquehanna County.

They came to get a closer look at communities affected by Natural Gas drilling.

Some members of Artists Against Fracking toured gas drilling sites in Northern Pennsylvania in hopes of raising awareness about the effects of fracking before it comes to the homes they have in New York.

"Fracking is such a major major decision because it's forever, you cannot undo the damage of a well," said actress Susan Sarandon.

The bus tour drove by drilling sites and areas closed off to the public.

Braving the back country roads to hear from the community on how fracking has changed their life.

"I know who's lying and it's not my neighbors with the bad water and the wells shooting out of the water wells, and the water tests showing it," said Craig Stevens of Montrose.

Along the way the bus stopped to talk to local residents, there they saw pictures and watched videos of what happens once the drilling starts.

"But mom look that's their well, that's their drinking water. It's smoking with gas," said Sean Lennon as he watched home videos made my Montrose residents.

Many local residents joined the bus tour to share their story with the group.

"It's amazing, it's nice to know that there are people who do actually care about it, because you don't see that from the officials and the Government in PA," said Matthew Manning of Montrose.

For the Manning family of Montrose, two water tests by the Department of Environmental Protection showed contaminants and high levels of methane.

"She was waking up in the morning getting sick, throwing up, but she'd only throw up once, and she'd be fine the rest of the day, shortly after they installed the water buffalo that problem disappeared she never did that again," said Manning.

Others followed the bus to make sure their story in support of Natural Gas Drilling is being heard.

"This is a publicity stunt as far as we're concerned. It's an example of some people who have absolutely no stake in the matter, come up here and they're simply taking advantage of a trendy cause," said Tom Shepstone of Northeast Marcellus Initiative.

The tour is being led by local anti-fracking residents that reached out to Artists Against Fracking in the past year.

They are pushing for more awareness and support from government officials.

"I guess that's what we have to do, is tell people, you know there's so many different ways to get energy but water is just water, it's just a god-given gift," adds Sarandon. "I'm just in awe of the blindness that could destroy the environment this way, just to make money and to walk over families like this."

"Please don't tell us there's no problem, if there isn't any problem why are there so many problems?" said Stevens.

The group finished the tour by taking a drive down Carter Road in Dimock, where issues with well water brought both state and federal attention.

In 2012 the EPA ruled overall the water is safe to drink after examining samples and other data.

"I don't think the evidence is on their side, the evidence is on our side with the EPA decisions that have come down and their investigations, with the results across the country we can say it's a safe process," said Shepstone.

It did find levels of arsenic, barium or manganese in a few homes that were of concern, but the EPA also said those substances are naturally occurring.

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