In the March 11th, 2014 op-ed section of The Intelligencer, West Virginia's attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, had an asinine, pro-fracking article. I have not seen propaganda like that since my grandpappy took me to see the premiere of Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will" at the Hitlerplatz in Berlin.
Let's look at how uninformed he is about fracking. He writes, "Farmers have found a new way to use previously fallow parts of their land." Don't forget that the tons of toxic and carcinogenic debris being burned off from flaring are landing all over his property (and neighbors), and his cows eat the grass, and the vegetables he grows are being grown in contaminated soil. He sells his farm produce to us.
Is it any wonder that there has been a dramatic increase in those urgent care centers? He tells us "The potential for jobs in our state is virtually limitless." So local people are the ones with Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas license plates and are living in the camper villages along Route 40? Am I to conclude the March 28, 2014 article about the valley s declining population is about how much positive influence fracking is having for the area?
But I don't want to harp on the facts. He also cites, "This also helps companies reduce the total footprint from their extraction activities." Has he seen the amount of trees put off to the side of the woods to just rot after they were cut down to make a path for the gas lines? Has he seen how the hilltops have been leveled to erect a drilling rig, condensate tanks and build impoundment ponds? I guess those rose tinted glasses filter out those sights.
Here's one of his most laughable claims: "We must not forget in the pursuit of energy independence that it's absolutely critical for the companies who do business in our state to operate in careful, responsible manner ..." Tell the people in Ohio who had a propane shortage during this exceptionally long and bitterly cold winter that we are getting closer to energy independence. Fracking gas is going to Asia, but the public doesn t need to know that.
So what energy independence are you discussing, Mr. Morrisey? He goes on to tout the predictable conservative,cliched mantra of jobs, jobs, jobs: "(W)e have the talent, great potential, and we're on the cusp of becoming a national, if not world leader, in something else: natural gas." He continues, "I see potential when Brazilian company Odebrecht announced it was considering Wood County as a place to build an ethane cracker and other processing facilities ..." Keeping in mind the nauseating patriotic tone of his article, why do West Virginians need to be dependent on a foreign country to supply us with jobs?
Mr. Morrisey's pro-frack indoctrination is akin to the same brainwashing techniques of the fundamentalist Christian, conservative moment: Everyone think like me that there wasn't a dinosaur age millions of years ago, but don't go see the magnificent display of them at the Carnegie Museum. He is asking us to believe the frack fairy tales. Where is the nearest well pad to Mr. Morrisey's house? From the first step of my front porch to the road is 63 feet. For two years, I've seen thousands of the water and sand trucks going by my house and sometimes having to go onto my property to make the curve. I can see and smell the flaring going on. The sky has been lit up. Chesapeake had one of their water pipes spill onto my property. West Virginia's useless DEP refused to evaluate my stream. Nearly all of the local media ignored that story.
I've invited the local government authorities to visit for a tour what has now become my industrialized neighborhood. Not one has knocked on my door.
California had a severe drought this winter, but frackers can use 5 million gallons of water to do one frack. It's not like eating is essential.
Let's not forget the Bobtown, Pa., explosion that burned for days and who knows what toxic clouds were blowing into Morgantown. We don't want the facts to get in the way.
The bright side of this story is that I got a 10 percent increase in assessment. However, I don t know if I can pay more on my mortgage since every time I go onto Stewarts Hill Road, I need to pay for a wheel alignment. If county health departments can't afford some of the air quality monitoring devices, then how can citizens afford to buy these gadgets to see what we are breathing? The citizens are on our own. That brings me to my next point. If Mr. Morrisey and his ilk think fracking is a godsend, then why was there an article in The Intelligencer just three days after the appearance of his Goebblesesque column about the Ohio County Health Board's new online frack health survey?
This is a fascinating juxtaposition. Fracking can't be safe and unhealthy at the same time. It's one or the other. I wonder if the local data will reflect similar results that are expressed in the 1,700 cases of maladies and deaths in the "List of the Harmed?" This survey is a great idea, but it comes way too late as the frackers have finished most of their nefarious operations in what used to be a rural section of town. Dr. McCawley should have been here two years ago instead of wasting his time proclaiming that if we eat healthy and exercise, the toxic cloud won't harm us.
When the frackers are heavily invested in developing a college of fracking at WVU, do you really think Dr. McCawley's research study, if it reveals fracking is unsafe, is really going to reach the public?
I have to agree with the claim that West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania have been sacrificed for corporate profits. On March 26, we were told about the possible expansion of the smoking ban to include the casinos. Since fracking is new and unproven technology, it would be great if the county health board would show the same enthusiasm to test air quality during the fracking process, especially during flaring, and far more concern for the safety of the citizens who had fracking forced into our neighborhoods.
The Minch Pad is preparing to be refracked, which means it will be flared too. Now is a great time to have officials get some gadgets to monitor the air from the Minch Pad.
Flaring is like 1 million cigarettes burning. Flaring is the same thing as second-hand smoke. So why isn't fracking banned? Oh, that's right: Frackers can do about whatever they want since they are keeping city coffers filled.
It's been revealing how many of these public officials who praise fracking don't have it in their neighborhoods. I guarantee they would have a different view of fracking if the Nichols Pad were less than a mile from their homes and the Minch Pad also nearby.
We can thank the teachers unions for dumbing many of us down to not being critical thinkers. Thanks also goes to Christian conservatives who want us to believe in myths and not look at the facts. The fact is: Fracking is a fraud. Mark Eddy is a co-host on Revolution Radio's "An Open Canvas" and has contributed articles to "Ancient American" magazine. He lives in an area of Ohio County that has been heavily fracked for the last two years.