Marcellus Shale

Talk About A Loose Cannon on the Marcellus Shale Deck!

Most of us have heard or, perhaps, used the term “loose cannon on the deck.”  Meant to describe an individual prone to bounce around firing at will – a threat to friend and foe alike – it is also an apt term for some of our opponents from Luzerne County who seem determined to misrepresent what happened in Dimock and now what’s happening (actually, not happening) in Franklin Forks.  Remember when you visited one of those historic forts as a child and they fired a cannon for you?  It was only much later you learned the truth – that they were only firing wads and no real cannon balls.  It’s a lot like that.

First, there was that “through the looking glass” tour of Susquehanna County, which turned the truth inside out to reflect back the distorted views of the videographer Scott Cannon.  That so angered local residents they decided to organize Dimock Proud and do their own video.  We also did our own tour showing what he left out while firing those shots.  Shots which always fall short of their intended target.  Now, he’s at it again, firing a bunch of poorly aimed wads demonstrating he’s an especially loose cannon when it comes to the facts.  He’s rolling around the deck, scaring the heck out of everyone, but hitting no one with anything stronger than some crumpled up rags and paper, a bunch of distortions, misstatements and untruths.

Smear, Fear and We’ll Hope No One Fact Checks

Cannon is a member of the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, a group notorious for spreading gossip faster than Miss Bates in Jane Austen’s Emma.  He is up to the same old tricks – taking a kernel of a half-truth, failing to provide necessary context, then turning it into a false cause-and-effect argument.  You might say he’s the master of the innuendo Terry Engelder, in TruthLand, ascribes to Josh Fox.  Well, call it what you will, but it adds up to a lie by any ordinary person’s standards.

This time, Cannon has targeted the mom and retired science teacher who wanted to find out for herself whether the shale gas industry posed any threat to her family and their farm. Shelley DePue of Franklin Township set out on her quest after being scared into action by Josh Fox’s environmentalist fantasy “Gasland.”  Her voyage, and what she found out, has been released as the documentary TruthLand of which EID is proud to be a part.

Now certain bloggers and anti-natural gas activists (Cannon being one) are attacking Shelley online, in print and at some of the public speaking engagements she has attended. The good news is they can’t dispute the facts. The bad news is they’re smearing Shelly’s name to take the focus off of the information she discovered on her journey.  They’re doing this by employing half-truths and misinformation, the tools of all demagogues.

For someone who has repeatedly sent me messages telling me I’ll someday see the error of my ways and turn into a “fracktivist,” it only adds to the holier than thou perception I’ve come to equate with Cannon.  I, like Shelly, prefer truth and science to fear and deception, and Cannon’s recent actions make me even more proud of the work I do.  Here’s a sampling of what’s been said, compared to the truth.

Reality Check

As part of its investigation into the bubbling for the Department of Environmental Protection, WPX drilled an observation well next to the well that was bubbling. They drilled it below the water aquifer and found no gas in that well. None!  With the casing reinforced, WPX proceeded to develop into the Marcellus Shale.

In the case of the lawsuit Cannon falsely attributes to being against the DePue family, WPX has cooperated fully with DEP, offered assistance to the Mannings, gone above and beyond in conducting further tests on their operations, and by the way, WPX is still voluntarily providing water to the Manning family. WPX was able to recreate the infamous water “eruption” from the Manning well, which clearly indicates a mechanical failure.  Isotopic tests show the methane in the well matches that of Salt Springs State Park, a well-known phenomena in the community.  The Manning family has, to date, refused all WPX offers to repair their water well.  These offers were made despite clear evidence WPX’s actions are not the cause of the problem, yet they have been rejected.  Why?  What possible reason can there be to refuse such help?  One can only speculate.

The Truth Will Prevail – It Always Does

We should be happy, I suppose.  The anti-industry activists are moving away from attacking the science of the shale gas industry and have taken up a rhetorical strategy of attacking a well-intentioned, intelligent person who simply wanted the unvarnished truth.  Unfortunately, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from this crowd over the last year, it’s the activists do not want anyone learning the truth or looking for it on their own because they have an agenda and natural gas from the Marcellus Shale is in the way.  They’d rather follow the Armendariz strategy of crucify first and backpedal later.  And, we all know how that turned out.



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