Appalachian Basin

Chasing the Tail that Wags the Dog

Over the past few weeks much has happened in the small town of Dimock, PA.  Shortly after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared that Dimock water does not pose a threat to human health, a rally was organized by a handful of families and a cadre of special interests and Hollywood elitists.  The rally, which started off with a press conference in New York City mind you, was packaged as a relief effort to provide water to litigants, seeking a large legal settlement, who were left “stranded” to use a water supply that upon last testing met all  Safe Drinking Water Act standards.  Of course, this small fact was not going to stand in the way of Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan, Josh Fox or Mark Rufalo.  No, these folks have an agenda and a political future to secure and for them Dimock is a mere pawn in the ongoing game of chess to block the safe and responsible development of natural gas.

These recent events, and other that have proceeded them, have transformed this bucolic and picturesque town nestled in the Endless Mountains. Now the majority of the community finds themselves, and the town they have called home for generations, being depicted as a wasteland and used as a movie prop to advance a contrived narrative not supported by facts.  This isn’t just our opinion, recent determinations and statements from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board all support the fact that Dimock’s water is safe.   Yet, the tired narrative continues and a well-worn community is left to be the subject of ridicule, disparaging remarks, and unwanted attention brought by those seeking personal gain or a desire to advance an agenda.

With this type of history it is understandable how this town of just over 1,000 people may view outsiders with a bit of suspicion, a twinge of uncertainty, and a certain disdain.  So when we came across  NPR’s StateImpact article “Reporter’s Notebook: Unfriendly Bars and the Incredible Hulk Comes to Dimock” by a Philadelphia reporter visiting unannounced, we were not surprised at the response she received.  Had she visited during another time, or asked the EID-Marcellus team for a few ideas of where to visit, her experience may have turned out quite differently. She would have found plenty of folks to speak with including those who support natural gas, those who are indifferent and those who just want the defamation of their community to come to an end.

StateImpact was right in one thing—“Dimock residents are tired of all the attention.” The people of Dimock want to get back to their daily lives without a national propaganda agenda being thrust upon them, which, in a very real way, this reporter’s presence signified in her attempt to perpetuate the story.

While we appreciate StateImpact’s effort to provide a balanced viewpoint, your effort was doomed to fail from the start because of that attitude.  Should you actually want  to gain the perspective of the majority of residents  in Dimock all you need to do is ask – we’d be happy to oblige by putting you in touch with some of the 99%.  We may not be able to recreate the audience provided to Mayor Matt Ryan when about 150 of them appeared at a meeting recently to give the meddling mayor (a/k/a environmental lawyer) the boot. However, we can provide more than a few residents willing to convey the support that exists for natural gas production in Dimock.  Indeed, support is so strong the community is in the process of petitioning DEP to allow natural gas production to resume there.

Some readers may wonder just how it is that we know the sentiments of the greater Dimock community.   Well, the answer is simple.  Our staff knows these folks well, by their first names.  We have visited their homes, businesses and attended their community events.  Imagine that, a community supposedly decimated by the natural gas industry invites representatives of that industry into their homes but angrily rejects out of town mayors and b-list actors supposedly “looking out for their welfare.”  Well, it goes to show there is no amount of spin that can change the situation at hand.  We know where the 99% of Dimock stand and as a result they share information and a bit of their lives with us and for that we are honored and obliged.

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