Appalachian Basin

A Tale of Two Meetings

The EID team had a very busy Thursday night to say the least, with members of our team checking in all over parts of NY and PA. My counterpart, Nicole, was in Pittson, Pa., for a taping of WVIA’s latest installment of its Marcellus series. Check out her post on that above.  Tom, EID’s campaign manager, was hard at work in Honesdale preparing for the DRBC hearing next week. Check out his post here. And Chris was in Harrisburg — meeting with our colleagues in the industry and no doubt enjoying an absolutely magestic view of the Susquehanna River from his room at the Comfort Inn (we lived a charmed existence). 

As for me? I was pulling double duty along the Southern Tier of NY, splitting my time between the Windsor, NY and Vestal. Below is a break down of each event (after the jump):

Windsor & Colesville Oil and Gas Leasing Coalition  (WCOGLC)

Continuing this week’s theme of great educational events, the WCOGLC in conjunction with the JLCNY, presented a geology review. The keynote speaker, Don Zaengle of Zaengle Geosciences LLC, educated the audience about the subtle nuances of the Marcellus Shale region in central New York.

Just shy of 250 people were in attendance for this event; amazing when you consider this organization’s membership is about 700.

Note: next time this group puts on a presentation, make sure you are there. This group, like so many of the other coalitions, is a top-notch group with great information. Their meetings are well worth your time.

Frack!-The Movie

After leaving Windosr, NY, members of the JLCNY accompanied me to the American Legion Hall in Vestal, NY, for a showing of Frack!- The Movie. Unlike the 250 attendees to the WCOGLC presentation, only about 25 people, including the director, sponsors, and us, showed up to watch the film; prompting someone at the event to ask all of the attendees to move toward the front so there weren’t so many vacant seats.  The contrast in the attendance and attitudes at the two meetings could not be sharper.  The WCOGLC meeting was professional, upbeat, factual and large.  The Frack movie event was unprofessional, depressing, distorted and small. Very small.

For those who don’t know, Frack! supposedly tells the story of the unconventional gas-drilling (“fracking”) frenzy sweeping the Marcellus region, including areas within the Susquehanna and Delaware River watersheds, threatening pristine areas which provide clean drinking water for millions of Americans.

If you didn’t catch it from the description, Frack! is more of a cartoon than a documentary. I will, nonetheless, give credit to the director David Morris, where credit is due – the cinematography and special effects were good, keeping the viewer entertained. It was hilarious. And completely untrue.

Case in point: Throughout the movie, random shots of explosions and news clips are spliced together with scenes from popular movies like Pulp Fiction and TV shows like CSI. Sound throughout the movie is also greatly exaggerated, often used to get the audience to sit up in their seats. Particularly unprofessional were the scenes of random trucks shown driving through towns at ear-shattering levels — trucks that had nothing to do with gas development. Many of the scenes concerning drilling operations or compressor stations were outdated or misinterpreted. No mentions were made in this film of practices such as closed loop management and water recycling, which now constitute best management practices within the industry.

Overall, the film simply lacks credibility based on my observations of the industry and what I’ve seen in affected communities.  My hope is that everyone takes a trip to Dimock or Towanda, PA, and see for themselves. Most wil be greatly surprised by the beautiful landscapes, architecture and economic boom taking place in these communities.  I can assure this much – it’s nothing like “Frack!- The Movie” would have us believe.

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