Last summer a county commissioner from Bradford County, Pennsylvania, which sits on top of the richest part of the Marcellus Shale, contacted me because he and his colleagues were planning a shale drilling “fact finding” trip to Wise County, Texas, the birthplace of shale drilling. Mark, I think was his name, found my blog, and with the certainty of unconventional drilling in their future, this conscientious county commissioner craved information he could use to keep his constituents safe. We had at least one, maybe two, phone calls discussing drilling issues and his upcoming trip. I promised to take off work and meet him anytime and he promised to meet with me and “call me later.”
The “fact finding” trip was planned for the latter part of the summer right when THIS was lurking only a mile from my house. I lined up local people willing to speak with the Bradford Commissioners about how they have been affected by shale drilling.
He never called me.
I’ve often wondered what happened to that determined, conscientious man setting out on a “fact finding” mission. Then I happened across the Bradford County website and the newsletter, Bradford County Group returns from Wise County, Texas.
The newsletter has a picture of a drilling rig that looks nothing like THIS or the other rigs near where I live. It also has a picture of the Bradford County Commissioners—smiling, wearing their complimentary hard hats—standing alongside a whole batch of industry folks.
The newsletter states:
The trips purpose was” to educate those involved about the impacts that natural gas drilling has on the many aspects of our communities such as”
The best part of the trip had to be the awesome tour of our amazing courthouse hopefully given by the bailiff who knows the most entertaining and scandalous trivia. The courthouse tour is one of my favorite memories of life in Wise County.
The Bradford Commissioners then heard
presentations propaganda given by the following unbiased, er… balanced, ah-um…industry insiders:
Devon Energy Specialist, Gilbert Horton – who is passionate about the environment (except when it costs his company money)
Ritchie Oilfield Construction, Mike Ritchie
XTO Energy, Ken Howerton – Man! I have a video coming that you just have to see!
Targa Pipeline, Ken Manning
Barnett Shale Education Commission, Ed Ireland – Shill for the Shale
Texas Department of Transportation
Texas Railroad Commission which
regulates protects the gas and oil industry in Texas
Then they all went out to dinner and had, “informal discussion.”
This was your “fact finding” trip?
I’d like to know how much your constituents paid for that trip because I’m pretty sure they didn’t get their money’s worth!