Appalachian Basin

Wes Wilson’s Magical Mystery Tour Hits Elmira

Last night in Elmira, the anti-responsible energy crowd held another one of their “sky is falling” events — even going so far as to fly in speakers from Colorado (anyone care who paid for that? of course not!) to round-out the pep rally. The group included:

  • Wes Wilson — former EPA activist (not staffer) out of Denver who once famously suggested that “the American public would be shocked if they knew we make six figures and we basically sit around and do nothing.” Wes earned his stripes with the anti- crowd when he “blew the whistle” on the 2004 EPA report, which found that hydraulic fracturing was safe. Wes said that the conclusions of the agency were unsound, notwitstanding the fact that he wasn’t even a member of that panel. Wasn’t the first time Wes tried to use his position with EPA to prevent resource development — over his career, he used that post to prevent gold from being mined, dams from being built, and oil from being produced.  More on Wes’ “illustrious” career available here.

Anti-drilling Sign from the Event
  • Tara Meixsell – author of the book, Collateral Damage, which tries to make the case that the development of natural gas has singlehandedly destroyed the entire state of Colorado. Interestingly, the current secretary of the U.S. Interior Dept. — a former Senator from Colorado — disagrees.
  • Rick Roles – one of the stars of Gasland. He likes to talk about how natural gas development “destroyed” his ranch in Colorado, even though he still lives there.
  • Jeff and Jodi Andrysick – local (organic) farmers (of course) who thought they’d ride Josh Fox’s coattails all the way to Hollywood with crude films such as “All Fracked Up” and “Water Isn’t Water Anymore”

After the jump, we’ll focus in a bit on Wilson and the Andrysicks. Apparently this group will be touring New York and Pennsylvania all week long — so check back for more write-ups from the EID team.

As you will see in the videos, Wes tries to frighten his audiences with his fairly outrageous comments about the industry. In Gasland, of course, Wes famously declared that the “entire natural gas industry” has “a hundred year history of purchasing those they contaminate.” We weren’t around in 1910s, but one can’t help but leave with the impression that there’s not a single thing in the world that Wes won’t say to earn some affection from the crowd. 

As it relates to the substance of Wes’s presentation, the only thing even mildy noteworthy is how complimentary he is of the Duke study. Sure, EID had plenty of issues with that report — small sample size, no random sampling, no baseline testing, no testing at all of “non-active” wells in the Lockhaven formation, and on and on. But interestingly, as bad as the Duke study was, the report’s authors conceded 1) that no fluids from the fracturing process were found in any wells, and 2) that methane migration wasn’t caused by fracturing. Not exactly a report you’d expect ol’ Wes to be touting all over town, is it?

Of course, bending, twisting and completely distorting academic reports so as to render them almost completely unrecognizable is nothing new among the anti-gassers. Here is a post debunking another outspoken anti-gasser named Tom Jiunta, who studies feet for a living and supplements that existence with plenty of anti-energy advocacy:

[myyoutubeplaylist EgCAr0CSEvs, lT6Zh317QGo, dEcRJaYhAgM]

In the next set of videos, you can see the Andrysik’s comparing their fight against the gas industry to the famous scene in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones outruns the giant boulder of death. In this case, the rolling rock (we’re not talking beer here) is apparently the gas industry and the anti-gassers are Indiana Jones (extending the metaphor, Tony Ingraffea would be René Belloq). Also, one of the videos is an advertisement for the EPIC anti-energy event scheduled for this Saturday at Ithaca College. In this segment, the organizers claim that this is going to be the largest protest on the planet — but then are forced to admit that they’ve got no money to actually host it. Our advice: Whoever paid for Wes Wilson’s plane ticket from Denver — find that person (or group) and ask him to pony up! That’s what Tony the Tiger did!

[myyoutubeplaylist j3pI5WXSb0A, jzNPSFm829A, oYjlp4YvDIk]

Follow the EID Marcellus team all this week on Twitter@eidmarcellus for continuous updates on this panel and other important events!

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