COUDERSPORT, Pa. — The developer of a hydraulic fracturing waste fluid treatment facility in Potter County has asked opponents to stop making “untrue statements in an illegitimate attempt to incite public opposition.”
In a press release entitled “Epiphany Environmental Draws the Line,” the firm announced it has presented cease and desist letters to several opponents of the plant under consideration for a lot adjacent to the Coudersport Area Municipal Authority wastewater treatment plant on the bank of the Allegheny River.
Those receiving letters, Epiphany officials said, included Laurie Barr, who has helped organize Save the Allegheny demonstrations; Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman, co-founders of Public Herald and co-directors of the 2013 documentary “Triple Divide,” which focused on risks of fracking on Potter County water supplies; and the Seneca Nation of Indians, which has demonstrated against the Epiphany project. The press release did not indicate when the letters were sent.
Claiming that the firm abides “by the laws of man, the laws of science, and the laws of God, while opponents to the proposed treatment facility apparently do not,” the firm accuses opponents of “spreading lies and falsehoods” about possible risks around the project.
Epiphany CEO Tom Joseph and the firm accuse opponents of slander and libel, dismissing scientific data and having a “disregard (of) any semblance of decent human interaction and civility.”
“Epiphany Environmental’s facility exemplifies global best practices for environmental stewardship,” Joseph said in the release.
While cease and desist letters are not legally binding, they typically imply that if the actions continue, a lawsuit may follow.
Seneca President Todd Gates, who has been vocal in his opposition to the project, since the Allegheny River flows through the Nation’s territory in Cattaraugus County, said he is “not too concerned” about the letter.
“We’re putting together a response,” he told the Times Herald. “It should be out (today).”
(Contact reporter-editor Bob Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)