Friday, October 21, 2011

Chesapeake Rallies The Troops

photo by Frank Finan
Not content with going after the New York Times, now the gas industry is targeting public meetings – at least in a more obvious manner (because – heck – they’ve always sent industry supporters to meetings).

Yesterday Jennifer Cox, Chesapeake Energy’s “coordinator of corporate development for Marcellus Shale” sent out an urgent e-mail appeal asking pro-gas supporters to attend a talk in Deposit. Not one that Chesapeake is presenting – but one organized by a group of citizens who want to know more about what gas drilling looks like in agricultural communities.

The event, “Neighbor to Neighbor: Living the Drill” features two Bradford County (PA) dairy farmers, Carolyn Knapp and Carol French. I’ve heard these women – they speak honestly about how industrialized drilling has changed their agricultural landscape. They share accounts of how drilling has impacted their neighbors – some of whom have had to sell their livestock because the drilling made it impossible to move cows to pasture or bring hay back to the barn.

The idea that people might be talking to their neighbors seems to bother Chesapeake, so Cox is asking drilling supporters to “attend and share with others the economic benefits that natural gas development has brought to your community and the positive impact the industry can have on our nation’s economy and energy security”.

Why is she – and Chesapeake – so concerned? “Public opinion about the industry is still being shaped,” Cox wrote, “and you have an important role to play.”

If you want to hear just normal folks share what it’s been like to continue farming while surrounded by a ring of wells a mile away, head to Deposit this Sunday, October 23. The talk begins at 2 pm at the State Theatre, 148 Front Street. Doors open at 1:45 for refreshments and conversation.

Read more here and here.


  1. My question is, why does Chesapeake think that an informational meeting is an anti-gas meeting? Why are they so afraid of information? Are they sure that's the impression they want to convey?

    As for speaking up for their side, they can - and do - buy all the airtime they want, something that is far out of the reach of the small community groups putting this event together.

    So if Chesapeake wants a meeting in Deposit at which they can talk about all the "economic and national security benefits" of natural gas extraction, surely they can afford to rent the theater for themselves.

  2. Filling up rooms with their own folks is an old strategy used by many organized (rich) promoters.

    For example, in Quebec, the farmer's union called the UPA (monopolistic and pro-industrial farming methods) have the habit of filling up rooms where citizens (including small family farm owners) that are against mega pig farms get together to exchange information and organize opposition movement.

    It is a intimidation strategy that often works. Local police hear of it, anticipate problems and show up in force.

  3. In TEXAS, We all purchased property because it WAS in a zoned residential area, we thought we had protection from industry moving in our neighborhoods. Also we should have had protection under Texas Statutes, Section 253.005 regarding the LEASE OF OIL, GAS, OR MINERAL LAND that section c reads that

    "A well may not be drilled in the thickly settled part of the municipality" . But those failed. Another law that fails to protect the public is the Environmental Quality Nuisance,
    Texas Administrative Code, Title 30, Part 1, Chapter 101, Subchapter A,
    Rule 101.4, but that has not been enforced (in the UTA drill site case). Worth noting is that our council in Arlington denied more wells at the AC360 site when only 40% of those landowners approved being within 600ft,(a daycare even still closer), yet still we have these absentee landlords giving permission and renters not having a voice in how close wells can be to their families. There is still a whole lot of work left to be done to give equity to humans being made to coexist with a toxic, invasive, industry. The start would be to give us very specific emissions numbers on preproduction shale activities because the TCEQ and the ERG Ft Worth Air Study has FAILED to provide this info to us. For now the big question is....will we get cancer from living so close to BTEX factories? I've already seen enough dot connecting that makes me want to run far and wide from Arlington and Ft Worth...the air quality is sooooo bad. Living in an urban area with extra cars and trucks was bad enough for those in rural areas, be advised that you may have even less laws set up to protect you.