Artists Against Natural Gas Have No Credibility
The Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, an organization with the same New York City address as other natural gas opponents in that state, has made a point of repeatedly attacking residents who actually have to make a living in the Upper Delaware valley. Curt Coccodrilli takes on the organization and one of the group’s leaders for their elitist attitude.
Early last month, Senator Pat Toomey visited Wayne County to meet with various landowners and local officials about the subject of natural gas development. He was there, specifically, to hear why such development is has been so irresponsibly delayed by the Delaware River Basin Commission for the one county in Pennsylvania with natural gas resources and under its jurisdiction. The Scranton Times covered the event, where I spoke, and an artist by the name of Jim Barth commented in a rant that has to be read to be believed. I tried responding to his tirade, but the Times wouldn’t print it, so I offer my reaction here.
Jim Barth is a classic NIMBY, with roots in New York City and a Tribeca view of the world, who came up here to be an artist, while we worked our farms. In his comments, he doesn’t disclose his NIMBY anti-gas agenda or his work with Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, but he has a record of attacking hydraulic fracturing and local folks for years now.
His anti-gas rants are all over the Internet. His brand of propaganda is laughable. The members of the “artists against fracking” contingent, of which he’s a charter member, are continuous and profligate users of energy produced by burning natural gas and coal.
Just consider how much energy is consumed at any one of the anti-gas concerts this crowd organizes, or uses in the production of a single show or a months long concert tour. A massive amount of gas and coal is burnt to light a 10,000-seat arena and fill it with sound, plus, of course, there is the fuel it takes to get performers and supporters to such a concert.
Think of the energy involved in televising one of these travesties or to build the big-screen, hi-def television sets on which they’re viewed or even to coax fans into art exhibits that always take place in population centers and venues heated with natural gas.
At that meeting with Senator Toomey, I noted many of our members have farming backgrounds, a point Jim Barth somehow thought was worth arguing. Regardless, I grew up on our family’s dairy farm in South Canaan and our hunting lands in Manchester Township are planted annually and remain in a very large Ag Security zone. Stewardship of farm land is part of our heritage.
Let me also pose a question to Mr. Barth: “What have you done to protect the environment besides attack us in the press, donate one of your photo images or a few dollars and produce some obscure art?”
My family and I have a non-commercial tree farm and have planted over 10,000 deciduous and coniferous trees by hand on our farm and hunting lands.
We do “hay” our fields as Barth so negatively pointed out (as if it was beneath his dignity to attempt it).
We have more than 100 acres in the Conservation Reserve program; we have numerous acres in non-commercial timber stand improvement with a wildlife focus.
We have a Forest and Farm Management Plan produced with the help of the Natural Resource Conservation Service. We also maintain riparian buffer zones.
We have more than 85 bat, bird, purple martin, owl and wood duck houses built and deployed on our lands to support wildlife.
We have free-range chickens that get eaten by various wildlife weekly (which is upsetting, but natural).
My 95,000 bees in four hives pollinate blossoms in an 11-square-miles area, perhaps including the flowers and veggies in Jim Barth’s garden, if he has one.
Jim Barth’s antics are just more “performance art” on his part. We work hard and play hard on the lands we love. His rant on “speculators” is pure nonsense, as very few acres owned by NWPOA and LWPOA members were bought to “speculate” but, rather, have been owned for generations by the same families. His hype and his art will not stop progress, nor will the Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, a fake name if there ever was one.