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Stop Throwing Your Fracking Fish At Our Heads

State Rep. Jesse White talks about the new movie 'Promised Land' and shares information about best practices for Marcellus Shale drilling outlined in a new report—one he said the gas industry paid for.

A publication recently surfaced from Control Risks, a renowned British company hired by the natural gas industry to analyze the opposition to drilling by hydraulic fracturing around the world. Upon review, its analysis seems pretty objective and accurate.

The report distinguishes between those who ideologically oppose drilling and those who do not oppose the idea of drilling but simply want it to be done the safest way possible, which is the category I would put myself into.

What’s amazing is that the only two photos of active drilling operations in the entire report are right in our backyards, in Cecil and Chartiers Townships. Seeing my hometown in a worldwide publication really reinforced how much at the epicenter of the whole natural gas boom we really are.

The section titled “How Can Industry Respond?,” which is ironically on the same page as the photo of drilling operations in Cecil Township, is of particular interest. The report says the industry should target four key areas to improve its relations with stakeholders, and they deserve to be printed. Remember, this is an analysis prepared for the gas industry at their request by objective experts.

The report states, “First and foremost, the industry needs to acknowledge the legitimacy of local grievances. Denying the agency of local communities by blaming ‘fear’ and ‘hysteria’ is winning the industry—often an ‘outsider’—few friends. Acknowledging grievances would begin to repair its crippling trust deficit with local communities.”

In addition, the report recommends “Meaningful consultations with local stakeholders, instead of didactic ‘information sessions’ to market the presumed benefits of drilling, would help to identify potential points of tension to be addressed through both outreach and grievance mechanisms.” Sound familiar to anyone around here?

Next, the report recommends “a broad-spectrum political engagement strategy that is not overly dependent on cozy relationships with regulators, power-brokers and other narrow points of influence, which are easily tarred by general mistrust of central governments and are a source of political risk. In part, this means laying groundwork at the local level with municipal and provincial officials. Such local lobbying is expensive, but many companies have dedicated teams in the wake of legislative and regulatory changes giving more clout to local authorities.” Working with local governments in a positive way, you say? Hmmm … Go on.

Next, the report states “the industry needs to continue to make good faith efforts to reduce adverse impacts across the board. This means not only strengthening compliance, ensuring subcontractor performance and embracing new technologies, but also making conscientious project decisions regarding the siting of well pads, screening of light and noise, and routing of truckloads. This would entail absorbing increased mitigation costs, … but it would also reduce non-ideological objections to the industry.” Or in simple English, be a good neighbor instead of just claiming to be one.

Anything else?

“Finally, in addition to reducing the negative impacts of gas development, companies need to ensure the benefits are both tangible and as widely and fairly distributed as possible. For most communities, this means procuring as much as possible locally, providing jobs and training to local workers, paying required taxes, and—crucially—making long-term investments that deliver a sustained economic boost. The encompassing but diffuse benefits of lower gas prices are one thing; an industrial base that provides well-paid jobs for more than two or three years of drilling is a more concrete way to distribute the benefits of unconventional gas development.”

When it comes to maximizing local jobs, I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, when people like me ask questions about local hiring, we don’t get facts or statistics; we get snarky attacks, misdirection and ridicule. It would make sense if you were hiring all the local workers possible, you’d want people to know it, right?

But it seems as though there are way too many out-of-state license plates in the region to be able to prove we’re actually getting all the local jobs we can out of this industry, and our unemployment numbers comparable to the state average would suggest likewise.

But instead of following the professional advice it paid for, the tail wagging the dog of the gas industry has decided to double down on what hasn’t worked yet.

Last week the movie “Promised Land,” starring Matt Damon, opened nationwide. The film is set a small rural town in southwest Pennsylvania and deals with the issue of how the community should approach the issue of drilling for Marcellus Shale. I’m not going to give much commentary on the movie itself, because I believe people are smart enough to make their own decisions, especially since it’s a fictional movie and doesn’t pretend to be anything else.

Truthfully, I thought the film took a much more civil approach than some of the things I’ve seen, and the absence of groups such as lawyers or reporters in the film painted a somewhat incomplete picture of what’s been happening around here over the past eight years.

In any event, the movie is hardly the anti-drilling paranoia machine industry lobbyists would have you believe. In fact, the Marcellus Shale Coalition spent a whopping $30,000 on ads to run in local theaters showing “Promised Land,” which is not only an incredible waste of money but also insulting to local movie goers.

Can we seriously not go to the movies any more without getting their propaganda shoved down our throats?

I’ll go ahead and summarize what the intelligent people at Control Risks were trying to say in their 23-page report. It’s simple. Stop trying to tell us what to think every second of every day. If you’re doing the right things, you don’t need to go to such incredible lengths to convince people of anything; the results will be self-evident. At this point, the approach is turning off way more people than it is winning over.

Every day, more and more constituents come to me and say that as much as they favor the natural gas boom, they can’t stand the condescending way we’re being treated by much of the industry.

But if the report by Control Risks is too long or complicated, the gas industry can go back to the Chinese proverb that says instead of giving a man a fish to eat, it is better to teach a man how to be a fisherman. Show us your commitment to local communities, local jobs and best practices, or in other words, teach us to be fishermen—instead of forcing us to eat the fish you are constantly throwing at our heads.

Editor's Note: To read the entire report, click on the attached PDF.

Donald Roessler January 19, 2013 at 05:08 AM
Are we upsetting you Prouder American ?? Well I'm not sorry for it.
Amanda Gillooly January 19, 2013 at 05:21 AM
1. Let's be civil, please. 2. Let's keep it on topic please (please, please). 3. If you'd like to write a letter to the editor, or blog, please email me at amanda.gillooly@patch.com. I'll get you set up and that will be another forum for your thoughts, opinions, links and conversation! Thanks, guys.
Donald Roessler January 19, 2013 at 05:31 AM
Amanda it seems to stay civil until Prouder American starts with the insults. You can go ahead and shut down the comments on this if you want and it won't bother me.
Prouder American January 19, 2013 at 05:37 AM
I didn't insult them. I just said if these two want to swap gas industry propaganda from garbage sites like Energy In Depth and then needlessly compliment one another, perhaps they should just email one another instead of blowing up this site. But I do find it interesting that these two have no problem tossing around insults and hate, but get hypersensitive any time they think they are being criticized in any way. Typical gas industry self-victimization.
Amanda Gillooly January 19, 2013 at 06:15 AM
This is all I'm saying: We are getting close to name calling and awfully off subject. BUT - if Mr. Roessler, Proud or Prouder (or anyone) would like to write a blog or guest column, that might be a more appropriate forum for some of the items are off topic. Just let me know. I will set you up. Thanks guys!
Amanda Gillooly January 19, 2013 at 07:18 AM
Mr. Roessler, not to bemoan the idea, but you seem very opinionated on this issue. Please just let me know if you'd be interested in voicing you opinion on a blog on this site. It might be a forum for you to share your views and alternate links (even though you are more than welcome to post background info as a service to our friends on the site). Just sayin.' :)
Prouder American January 19, 2013 at 07:27 AM
Yeah, like I can write a blog about how the sky is blue, and Donald and proud american can post nearly 200 comments telling me how wrong I am and use links from gas industry propaganda sites like Energy in Depth as 'proof'.
Amanda Gillooly January 19, 2013 at 07:43 AM
Prouder, if you'd like to write a letter to the editor instead, please feel free to do so. My email is amanda.glllooly@patch.com. If you'd prefer to speak to me about the issue, please feel free to call me anytime. My cell phone number is 724-510-5659. Thanks, as always, for your opinions.
cecil resident January 19, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Amanda I agree with Donald if it is wrong for me and Donald to exchange thought on this site for and against drilling shut the comments down. Since the movie was about anti fracking I didn't think showing our side was wrong. With a debate there will always be two sides that is what makes a debate and the last few comments was just Donald and I communicating not attacking Prouder American at all. If i broke a rule I will apologize to you Amanda but not for what I atand for. Have a nice weekend
Donald Roessler January 19, 2013 at 05:12 PM
I did post background info Amanda. Just click on my name and you'll see it. I posted it a while back so people will know why I stand up for the gas industry. That's why I use my real name. I'll think about starting a blog but it will still bring nonsense from Prouder American who doesn't bring anything to the debate. And I apologize to you Amanda if you think I'm trying to be a trouble maker but all I'm trying to do is educate people and show them there is 2 sides to every story. I can dish out trouble though when it is given to me.
cecil resident January 20, 2013 at 02:00 AM
Donald was good to see a face to the name I was born and raised on a farm where my dad planted vegetables to raise his family on. Graduated from Canon McMillan and I am good bit older then you. Just hearing you speak on your video I can hear you love the land like I do , I'm just a city farmer now only have a small garden but lots of flowers. Don't have any leases with the oil company they are not drilling a lot in Cecil Township may never have one but I'm a pro gas enviromentalist thanks to you and wouldn't back anything I felt would harm the land . Keep up the good work getting the word out their.
Donald Roessler January 20, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Thank You Proud American. I may blog some things on here later. But this conversation has shown what tactics the anti's will resort to and one of the last attacks seems to have been an attack on our freedom of speech. Apparently if they don't like what we say they try to shut us up. And you saw that happen in the videos of the Yoko Ono tour.
Donald Roessler January 21, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Fracknation, a rebuttal to The Promised Land, will be aired tomorrow at 9PM on ASXTV. For those of you who do not have that channel visit their website below and you can order the DVD. http://fracknation.com/
cecil resident January 22, 2013 at 12:01 AM
Thanks Donald
Donald Roessler January 22, 2013 at 12:25 AM
If you're on Facebook look at the Fracknation page !!!!!!! Likes just keep going up and up. I never saw anything like that happen on there before. As I write this there is 11,311 likes. It will probably go up a couple more before you are done reading this. http://www.facebook.com/FrackNation?fref=ts
Donald Roessler January 22, 2013 at 01:17 AM
Wow !!!!!!!!! Check this out Amanda. I just found this on another Facebook page called Truthland. http://www.facebook.com/TruthlandMovie?fref=ts#!/photo.php?fbid=228881580575359&set=a.141249202671931.29193.104142989715886&type=1&theater
Donald Roessler January 22, 2013 at 01:24 AM
Proud American you'll love this too !!!!!
Donald Roessler January 22, 2013 at 01:31 AM
If you're not registered on Facebook you have to scroll down to see what I want to show you. It's a Canon McMillan Patch piece featuring Tim Solobay. If you're registered it should come up when you click on it above.
Roger January 22, 2013 at 01:37 AM
While I agree with the thrust of what is being advanced, one has to question the credibility of the Truthland folks. They are unable to get the right state associated with Solobay. This is a horrible blunder on their part, and makes them look pretty silly.
cecil resident January 22, 2013 at 01:51 AM
you out did yourself again Donald great sites looks like their are a lot more pro gas enviromentalist out their
Donald Roessler January 22, 2013 at 01:53 AM
I missed that part Roger. At least WE know where he is from. I haven't checked out the whole sight yet. This sight is about an independant woman who went out on her own and filmed a documentary about fracking. I think her film is posted on the web. I'm going to watch it when I got time if I find it. Right now I'm jumping between 4 websites reading and commenting. I'll see if I can post a comment below the article correcting them on it. Thanks for pointing that out.
Globetrottermom January 22, 2013 at 01:08 PM
And like "Promised Land", it features the local area and local people being interviewed. I'm surprised I haven't seen an articles about it in the Patch.
Donald Roessler January 22, 2013 at 03:50 PM
I wasn't aware of any local connection in the movie. I don't have the channel that it will be on so I'm going to order the DVD. Another one you might be interested in Globetrottermom is called Truthland. It is an independant film shot by a woman who wanted to learn about the drilling before they drilled on her farm. I started to watch it but only saw the first couple minutes. It sounds like it is good.It is on the web and here's a link where you can see it. http://www.truthlandmovie.com/watch-movie/
Donald Roessler January 22, 2013 at 04:17 PM
A lot more people need to be made aware of what the anti movement is doing because (1) This natural gas could mean energy independance from foreign oil. (2) The anti's refer to Washington County in a lot their rhetoric. And (3) Jesse White is referred to by them a lot and they worship him as a hero because of the lawsuits. Washington County is an "industrialized wasteland" according to them. I didn't know how big this issue was myself until I started looking at that lawsuit. That's what got me started on all this.The more I dug the more I learned. And I'm not liking what I'm learning about the anti's. Now we have Yoko Ono of all people getting involved in this. What makes her an expert on this?? ABSOLUTLY NOTHING!!!!! Not only are these people uneducated but they lie and are rude and vulgar !!!!! And the best part of all is that they use the very natural gas that they don't want us to drill for.
Donald Roessler January 22, 2013 at 04:42 PM
I just looked at Energy In Depths website and they posted this article today: http://eidmarcellus.org/marcellus-shale/through-the-eyes-of-a-natural-gas-anti/17352/#more-17352 This is why they don't want you to read EID !!!! Because according to them everything EID says is false. IS IT ????????? I believe a lot of what I read on there.
cecil resident January 22, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Watched the movie and what I liked about it and trusted was the fact this is an everyday person with a family that wanted answers. She didn't go to a movie to get answers she went to people, experts in different fields and talked to them face to face. People can be for clean air and water and enviroment in general and still be pro gas we are not blinded by our side of the issue we continue to look at both side and weigh the issues. The anti groups rely on people looking to them for their only answers and don't like being questioned and if their are they try to shut people up. As far as Senator Solobay being listed in the wrong state that could have happened anywhere and it needs to be corrected so none of the anti gas people find a way to use it.
Donald Roessler January 22, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Here's a review of the movie Fracknation from The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/grover-norquist/review-of-frack-nation_b_2523185.html Need I say more ????
Donald Roessler January 23, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Mr. White, I wish you good luck with HB 268 as I said before. I will be the first to admit that I don't have a problem with it.
cecil resident January 24, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Rep White or Donald can you print what is in HB268 having trouble finding it.
cecil resident January 24, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Got the info in the OR this morning, I don't see a problem with all chemicals found in a well being listed. The report ahould also state a list of the chemicals that the drilling companies is using in the area of these wells. Range Resources volunteered a list of the chemicals http://www.rangeresources.com/getdoc/50e3bc03-3bf6-4517-a29b-e2b8ef0afe4f/Well-Completion-Reports.aspx. This would stop many law suites because a lot of people when a chemical show up in their well will automatically assume it has to come from drilling and lawyers are none to happy to take their case. Personally I would have my own test done along with the DEP test better to be educated then to follow what someone wants you to believe.

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