Fayette County farmer, 73, jailed over beef with drillers
FAYETTE COUNTY, Pa. (AP) —
A 73-year-old western Pennsylvania cattle farmer has been released after spending four days in jail for confronting gas drilling workers over polluted water he claims they've pumped onto his land.
Joe Bezjak was released Monday after being found in contempt of a Fayette County judge's order that he have no more contact with workers from Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream Partners, after an alleged confrontation last month.
Bezjak says he confronted the workers because they pumped acid mine drainage onto his 700-acre cattle farm while drilling for natural gas, and previously tore down his fences and otherwise damaged his property.
A company spokeswoman says the company strives to have "good working relationships with our landowners" and says the dispute with Bezjak is a "rare occurrence."