Appalachian Basin

Anatomy of a “Truth Tour” Gone Terribly Wrong

Last evening I got to see to Mayor Calvin Tillman (formerly of Dish, Texas ) and Tim Ruggiero in action.  They appeared in Kingston, Pa. (Luzerne Co.) at what was promoted in their news releases as the “2011 Truth Tour on the Marcellus Shale.”  ShaleTest describes itself on its website as “a non-profit organization that will collect environmental data, and provide environmental testing to lower income families and neighborhoods that are effected by natural gas exploration.” 

Reading ShaleTest’s promotional material for the event, one might get the idea  it was going to offer a modicum of balance.  Indeed, Ruggiero is quoted in those materials saying that “we need to drill, and we need the energy – but it needs to be done responsibly, with respect to people and their private property.”  This faint hope was quickly dashed, however, as Ruggiero didn’t wait long before letting folks know what the meeting was really about – an opportunity to unfurl a non-stop rant against natural gas development of all shapes, sizes and forms.  Take a look:

Note how he suggests, with little subtlety, that the public (you and I) are too stupid to figure it all out.  He’s aghast that natural gas companies have the temerity to actually reach out to the public to actively educate them about the development process.  If you check out some of his other videos, you’ll hear calls for the impeachment and resignations of just about every local and state official, and what can only be interpreted as a call for a low-grade civil war in this country followed by “societal transformation” — all in protest of developing our own natural resources.

Rants like this illustrate the great gulf that divides those advocating for and against natural gas development.  An interesting perspective on it may be found here in a piece by Scott Paterno.  Regardless how one may feel about natural gas development or even the views of Mr. Paterno, he makes a very valid point when he says of the anti-gas forces, typified by Mr. Ruggiero and Calvin Tillman, that “they have no rational solution, just an irrational demand built on a conspiratorial fear.”  This is precisely what I saw on the ShaleTest “Truth Tour.”
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