Appalachian Basin

The Closing of the Natural Gas Mind

A group called the Peach Bottom Concerned Citizens and Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (PBCCG) held a “CAFO and Hydraulic Fracturing Conference” in Carlisle, Pennsylvania this past weekend.  EID Marcellus was refused entry as the natural gas mind of opponents closed.

This past Sunday, we traveled to Carlisle, Pennsylvania to attend the PBCCG 2012 CAFO and Hydraulic Fracturing Conference.  We thought it was a good opportunity to hear what some of our friends on the other side of the natural gas debate had to say, as the event had been heavily promoted by groups like the Delaware Riverkeeper and the Responsible Drilling Alliance (RDA).  The agenda included some individuals who often comment on this blog, so we thought important to listen to what they had to say.  Unfortunately, we never got such an opportunity.  We were told there was no room for us although we could plainly see there was seating available.

Here’s how it all went down.

We had learned about the event from the Delaware Riverkeeper website and the RDA calendar and saw that it was open to the general public.  It looked to be an important meeting, especially since Ben Price of the Park Foundation funded Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) was scheduled to discuss that organization’s strategy of enacting unconstitutional local laws against Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and natural gas development.  We drove three hours  (almost 5 hours for Rach) to Dickinson College in Carlisle to hear him and other speakers such as John Trallo, Carol French, Carolyn Knapp and Tracy Carluccio talk.

There was a registration fee of $20 per person, and neither of us had enough cash to cover both our fees. We told the woman sitting outside, who seemed to be in charge of the event, who we were to make sure we were welcome. She told us everyone was welcome, so we went to the ATM to get the money.

When we came back some 5 minutes later there was a group of 6 or so folks standing outside the door talking and as we walked over they stopped talking.  We assumed it was about us.  As we walked over, a women from the group came over and told us they were at capacity and there was, suddenly, no more room.  We could see clearly into the room and there was plenty of room for us, so it was obvious we were not welcome and were being uninvited as members of the general public.  We aren’t in the habit of going where we’re not welcome and, so, we left and started our long trek back home.

That wasn’t the end of the story, however.

We got an email yesterday from conference speaker John Trallo (a well-known anti-natural gas activist in the RDA sphere of influence) and this is what it said:

“Too bad that Nicole Jacobs and Joe Massaro left the conference at Dickenson (sic) College early yesterday. We would have loved for them to share their perspective on natural gas development in PA, as well as the other ancillary businesses they’ll bring like: pharmaceutical manufacturers, chemical plants, and CAFO’s.”

Nicole, of course, was not in attendance.  Someone apparently told Trallo two EID Marcellus representatives had tried to attend and he assumed it was Nicole and Joe.  So, did they tell Trallo they had also turned us away?  It’s hard to imagine they didn’t.  Why, then, would he say we left early?  Someone’s fibbing – either Trallo or the individuals who told us there was no room.  Trallo claims he “would have loved for (us) to share (our) perspective on natural gas development.”  Really?

Well, we welcome honest debate on the issues and would have asked some of the following questions:

Can the CELDF point to a single legal case upholding ordinances it has drafted for municipalities to deny natural gas development or do such things as:

•   Nullify the USA Patriot Act (Federal legislation)?

•   Deprive all corporations of the protections of the Contracts Clause of the United States Constitution?

•   Ban corporations from engaging in agriculture and ban persons from using corporations to do this?

•   Prohibit farmers from using genetically modified seeds?

•   Prohibit use of a corporation or syndicate to engage in product retailing within the townships?

Do residents of Cumberland County (where the conference was held) realize the counties of the Northern Tier have been revitalized economically by natural gas development with Bradford and Susquehanna County adding 3,600 local jobs and the former having one of the consistently lowest unemployment rates in Pennsylvania?  

Do they know Williamsport is the 7th fastest growing metro area in the United States and is doing far better than Ithaca, New York, a similar size city where natural gas development is on hold?

Do they know the EPA has said there is no proven case of hydraulic fracturing contaminating a water supply?

Do they know natural gas development produces more water than it uses?

Do they know some 34,000 wells were drilled and completed in Ohio over a 25-year period from 1983 to 2007 and there were only 12 incidents of connected with well casing or cement, a failure rate of 0.03 percent and none connected with hydraulic fracturing?

Unfortunately, we never had an opportunity to share any of this or ask any questions.  The  natural gas mind of opponents is apparently closed.


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