Update: I told a more personal story of what I’ve lost HERE. I don’t tell my story often. It’s too painful.
When it all started, I wanted to be like Ellie Mae Clampett with critters everywhere, a garden full of fresh vegetables and my kids running wild and free on our own property like I did when I was a kid.
Scarred by twelve years spent working in the oil and gas industry, I moved to the middle of nowhere in Wise County Texas where–unknown by me–Mitchell Energy was experimenting trying to figure out how to fracking oil and gas from shale. According to Congressional testimony (video), the two technologies, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing were “married” in 2002 right in my backyard. These two technologies release the gas that is tightly packed in the rock formation lying deep under a 16 county area in North Texas called the Barnett Shale. But the shale boom didn’t get started until after the 2005 Energy Policy Act gave the oil and gas industry a loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act to go along with all the other Polluter Loopholes.
A few neighbors who own very large parcels of land, seemed to be getting wealthy. They drove out their gates one day in old, beat-up, Ford or Chevy pick-up trucks and drove home in new, fully loaded Dodge diesels wearing new 7x beaver hats. They fixed their fences, remodeled their houses, bought new clothes and started taking vacations. I wanted in on some of that action.
I started researching how to get the best lease possible for my mineral rights and thereby realize the most money possible. I soon learned that getting a good lease is complicated, and to make it more complicated, as surface owner, I had to learn about how to protect my surface rights as well as how to get the most money.
My first discovery was that I had an endless stream of new, best-friends-forever. Everyone who learned that I own minerals in the Barnett Shale took a sudden, deep interest in my life and how they could “help” me in leasing my minerals for “only” a small percentage of those minerals. I grew evermore suspicious and wary and decided that no one was going to look out for my best interest but me. So, I quit the lament about not wanting to learn all these dreary details and dove into research.
Horrors unfolded. I found the people whose water wells are now poisoned, the ones who are sick and dying as a result and the near impossibility of holding those responsible accountable. I found the surface owners whose land is severely damaged, poisoned or left unusable and who are powerless against the deep pockets of oil and gas.
The biggest horror of all is the reckless use of water that is polluted and permanently removed from our hydrologic water cycle. This practice is not sustainable and must be stopped immediately because it’s causing water bankruptcy!
The more I learned the stronger my resolve to educate others in the hope that we can find a better way. The more I educate others by writing the more I am slandered by those who want to silence me. Some of the names I recognize because they were once my new, best-friends-forever until I started telling the truth. Suddenly, without changing my core political beliefs, I became known as a radical, far-left lunatic with a political agenda. This despite the fact that I drove a pickup truck with a gun rack in the back and I can ride, rope and shoot.
Just a few comments for your reading pleasure:
There will be a meeting of the communist party this coming Friday at the local Starbucks located downtown. I am going to contact TxSharon to see if she will not post the meeting time and place on her outstanding website…
TxSharon, which left wing group funds your website?
TxSharon has to be the most noble pure individual to roam the earth since Christ. With her liberal band of ultra left wing Apostles she roams the earth blasting anyone who might disagree with her as she brings down the evil Republican empire.
Your research is first grade material Sharon and just a load of crap for your politically based agenda-PERIOD. I’ll be back soon with facts of my own your majesty.
we find it disturbing that outsiders who have no stake whatsoever and are often ill-informed somehow think that they have the right to influence public policy.
Barnett Shale Newsletter
It sure is interesting how you lambast the oil companies, but yet you are willing to participate in their ‘evil schemes’ by leasing your minerals to them. Are you the kind of zealot who justifies your hypocritical behavior by using your lease bonus and royalties to fund your political agenda, or are you just like everyone else selfishly using the money for personal use? Is there some hypocrisy here? If you are so against what they do and how they do it, why are you a willing participant? I guess money talks no matter what your political stance. It takes a strong person to refuse that money on the basis of principles. Do you know anyone like that?
You will notice that in all of the above comments and in all the additional comments about me at the links above, no one disputes the information I provide. They can’t dispute the information because it’s rock solid so they sling ad hominem attacks at me instead.
My true agenda is a sinister one. I do not want to sacrifice the natural resources we can’t live without—clean air and water—for hydrocarbons that will soon be depleted anyway.
Edit added on 11/17/08, my birthday, upon reflection.
Maybe I have always been an activist, an agent of change, or maybe just since I was three. In self defense, my mother taught me the serenity prayer when I was three after I made everyone in my family miserable worrying about those starving children in China.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
The problem I have with the serenity prayer is that I can’t accept the limiting part. That’s why I also relate to this quote from Margaret Mead:
“never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people can make a difference, in fact, it is the only thing that ever has”
But neither of those quotes really fits. I’m often more reckless than thoughtful. I act from fear as often as I do from courage and I’m certainly not always wise.
The quote that most resonates with me is a mock Latin quote that I read in The Handmaid’s Tale:
Illegitimi non carborundum
That’s the quote I keep taped to my computer at work and the one that I carry with me. Translated, it’s supposed to mean:
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.