Cabot Oil & Gas has dropped its plans to drill at Brooklyn Township’s Ely Lake after it was unable to meet the demands of the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) to insure the safety of Girl Scouts and others visiting Camp Archbald, the Girl Scouts and a camp support group announced last week.
“Cabot Oil and Gas approached GSHPA with a proposal to drill at Camp Archbald which had the potential to provide a stream of revenue to the council. The preeminent concern of the Board of Directors and the leadership team was the safety of our Girl Scouts,” read a release from the Supporters of Camp Archbald, a Mehoopany-based group comprised of former Girl Scouts, counselors and other interested parties.
“GSHPA requested modifications to Cabot’s proposal, for the health, safety, and wellbeing of our girls and members foremost in our minds. Cabot was unwilling or unable to meet our requests. As a result, they signed a contract with another area property owner and the oil/gas negotiations regarding Camp Archbald are now off the table,” the group’s release read.
Cabot’s decision to withdraw from drilling at the 100-year old camp – the second oldest Girl Scout camp in the country – was also announced by GSHPA in a release using similar language.
“Cabot Oil and Gas approached GSHPA with a proposal to drill at Camp Archbald which had the potential to provide a stream of revenue to the Council. The preeminent concern of the Board of Directors and the Leadership team was the safety of our Girl Scouts,” the GSHPA release said.
In its release, Supporters of Camp Archbald members announced their excitement over the news.
“We feel this decision was made in the best interest of the Girl Scouts who use Camp Archbald as well as community members and the environment” said SoCA Marketing Chair, Emily Loder.
“Camp Archbald, celebrating 100 consecutive years of serving Girl Scouts this year, will continue to remain a treasured local environmental habitat. SoCA members are happy that GSHPA decided to turn down the offer to work with Cabot and that Camp Archbald will not [be] the location of any drilling or fracking for the immediate future,” said Loder.
Focus centered on the camp in late 2017 after GSHPA announced plans to liquidate about half, or 144 acres, of the total 228 acres, along with plans to shutter six other camps.
In November 2018, a Bucks County couple purchased 50 acres of the camp property with the GSHPA retaining oil and gas rights.
That June descendants of the Ely family after whom the lake is named purchased a 70-acre parcel, partially relieving concerns over the camp’s future. That family said it plans to preserve the property for recreational use.
Family members said plans are to continue to preserve the property for family recreational use following what a one member once called the “grand scheme of things.”