we are not hostage
to foreign oil
we are hostage
we are not hostage
to foreign oil
we are hostage
they are in charge.
and the uninspired,
they call the shots.
see only themselves…
Do you love this world
and rejoice in it?
Or do you relish the smell of diesel?
Do you love
Or do you love
this privileged form of governance?
(It seems the difference
between God and a fallen preacher.)
Built a huge ball of masonry
Upon a mountaintop.
Then they went to the valley below,
And turned to behold their work.
“It is grand,” they said;
They loved the thing.
Of a sudden, it moved:
It came upon them swiftly;
It crushed them all to blood.
But some had opportunity to squeal.
Even if one manages the drilling like an angel, and has the luck of God… even if, there are inspectors hanging from every rig… and ten feet of regulations at each worker’s side, even if… even if…
It will not change the inexorable facts that with each fracking: we retire millions of gallons of drinking water from the earth’s scarce supply, and we saturate the air with pollutants. Also, we horizontally fracture miles of rock below us, and fill those sharded caverns with a toxic slurry of brine, radioactivity, and nasty chemicals. That is the present state of reality. Even if we don’t want to believe it.
This planet is a terrarium orbiting the sun. The flaming star casts a million terawatts of energy upon us each day. Earth has been given all that it needs. We will either thrive, or render this terrarium useless. We make our own destiny. It is insanity to let big conglomerates dictate the condition of this planet. And, it is cowardice.
Each fracking leaves approximately 4.5 million gallons of water sequestered beneath the earth – taken out of the water cycle – never to be replaced. For every 420 horizontal frackings, the equivalent of the Huntsville Reservoir is polluted and left underground (1.9 billion gallons). Water that has touched the lips of our ancestors, now gone from the equation.
Oh, we may see it again, but next time as a spoiler of our diminishing clean water supply.
If this evil and blatant usury of our land is not stopped by our elected and sworn representatives by listening to reason, constituents, and the constitution – if they wimp out on their duty to make sure anything done to this state is done right or not at all; if this illegal attack supplants democracy – then democracy will be wrestled back, one way or another.
SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY
The meeting held at Misericordia University on May 11th promised to be a presentation by the Department Of Environmental Protection concerning the drilling for gas in the Marcellus Shale. I attended with an open mind, I thought. At the entrance to the meeting, flyers were being handed out touting the safety of the drilling. My first red flag went up when I saw who produced the flyer: Halliburton. Index cards and pencils were handed out to be used to submit questions to John Perry, spokesperson for DEP. Mr. Perry made his well memorized speech about the history of gas drilling in Pennsylvania and threw out lots of numbers and statistics regarding the industry. After his presentation, a faculty member of Misericordia screened the questions and allowed Mr. Perry to answer her carefully selected inquiries. Sadly, my question was never answered.
A gentleman sitting behind me, who would not lease his property, showed me an invitation he received to the meeting sent to him by a gas company. He was not amused by the slanted presentation totally in favor of the drilling process.
It was a total waste of time. I learned nothing. If the Huntsville Dam is polluted, Mr. Perry’s solution would be to provide drinking water to the thousands of folks depending on the dam for water. Water buffaloes on Wyoming Avenue?
My conclusion at the end of the meeting was that the DEP is in the pocket of the gas industry and cannot be relied upon to protect us. He gave me no reassuring feeling that this process will be safe. I came away feeling frustrated and depressed.
This map published in the Times Leader on Thursday, May 6, demonstrates how ubiquitous and widespread EnCana’s fracturing plans are. At the County Zoning Board hearing on Tuesday night, I asked the EnCana representatives how many wells are planned if the exploratory ones are productive. Wendy Wiedenbeck of EnCana said they have no idea because all this activity is strictly “exploratory” and that is their sole plan at this point. She would not discuss any possible numbers.
So, let me get this straight, they commit to leasing over 25,000 acres without a vague notion of possible scenarios? They commit at least $25 million without any production projections? I don’t believe it. Looks to me like hundreds of wells. Looks to me like a major industrial footprint. Looks to me like a at least a billion gallons of toxic water left underground to slowly traverse the fractured shale, seeking a point of inexorable egress.
The Back Mountain feeds the valley its water –
The Citizen’s Voice reports:
the Huntsville reservoir is the source of water for approximately 30,000 people in Dallas, Kingston Township, Swoyersville, West Wyoming and Wyoming. The Ceasetown reservoir is the source for approximately 70,000 people in the areas of Ashley, Courtdale, Conyngham Township, Edwardsville, Hanover Township, Hunlock Township, Larksville, Nanticoke, Newport Township, Plymouth Borough, Plymouth Township, Pringle, Salem Township, Shickshinny and portions of Wilkes-Barre City.
My thoughts and my sentiments are that the citizens are in a war here, a war to protect our water supply and the very air that we breathe, but are so out-powered and out-numbered by the huge money of the gas industry, who can buy our politicians and spread their propaganda faster than a wildfire. Incidentally, if and when one of these gas wells blows up, their is potential for a wildfire, not to mention the toxic chemicals it will spew into the air for a hundred miles or so.
The Zoning Hearing for the approval to give the go-ahead to EnCana to drill their well in Lake Township was a slam dunk before the hearing even began. The citizens had no chance at all, and I was convinced of this when I saw the extremely affectionate exchanges between the members of our Zoning Board and the representatives of EnCana at the table before the hearing began. EnCana sends in what appear to be ordinary citizens just like you and I. It would be far easier to enter into strong debate with the big shots in their fancy suits. These people all live in either Wyoming or Colorado so why would they care about our water & air quality. They are highly paid employees of the gas industry. While the citizens were strongly warned not to discuss water issues, EnCana proceeded to show their propaganda power point presentation and talk a whole lot about water! After all, isn’t water one of the most important issues in gas drilling operations? Millions of gallons of water are required for the fracking process of each individual well. Toxic chemicals are added to it before it gets put into the ground, and toxic chemicals remain in the portion of it that comes back up. The gas industry will put huge demands on our water supply and they have the potential to contaminate what water remains. Our small, rural communities are not ready for the gas industry. We are not trained or prepared to handle a gas well fire! In fact, we simply are not trained for any of this, and neither is DEP! Should we have the heavy rains we experienced in June of 2006 which destroyed roads and bridges, not to mention the near collapse of the Huntsville Dam, the plastic liner in the gas company “pit” will not keep it from over-flowing or the sides blowing out, and the toxic ingredients of the pits contaminating nearby creeks, streams, lakes, and yes, our aquifers!
As I take a look out over Harveys Lake and watch the trees slowly move to the breeze, and smell the clean air that is coming through my windows, I wonder what this scene will be in a few years, after the gas industry has bought out everyone, taken the gas and their money, and gone back to Colorado?
God help us all.
Michell’e T. Boice