Gas drilling’s promise, perils rile townsfolk

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Dimock attorney Bill Aileo, who helped lead the petition drive, believes the benefits of drilling have been lost amid an isolated case of contamination.

“I don’t think anybody’s abandoned them. I think they’ve become somewhat detached from reality,” he said.

About 60 miles away, across the New York state line, business at Grady Avant’s Narrowsburg coffee shop plummeted after a false rumor circulated that he and his partner had signed a gas company lease. He opposes drilling.

His regulars _ largely opposed to drilling _ stopped coming. People shot him dirty looks and some called to complain.

“It took weeks for us to undo most of it,” he said, but eventually, business returned to normal.

Since then, Avant, 39, has helped start FrackAlert, a group that seeks to shift the debate to the larger political arena “to ease local tensions,” he said.

“People have to treat each other better,” he said, “or otherwise there will be no community when everything is done.”

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Plushnick-Masti reported from Flower Mound, Texas, and Rubinkam reported from Damascus, Pa.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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