Monday, June 29, 2015

Requiem for Pennsylvania: A frack pad in the middle of a state forest. But in truth, it's just a chunk-o-catastrophe waiting for more.

Anadarko Pad 23783, Cop Tract 285, Pad E, Coudersport Pike. Grugan Township, Clinton County, PA
Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee, 6.26.15

Bitter? You bet, and you should be too.
Lest we forget what Pennsylvania has now become--the poster child for a successful and virtually total industrial colonization.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee, 6.26.15
Here's your "new" and irreparable (unless you like grass-n-gravel) Tiadaghton State Forest--otherwise known as the "Land of Anadarko"; well, otherwise known as "gone.

And these are the happy days. Once (A) the pipelines are built, and (B) TPP begins to take effect, we'll all be nostalgic for the "good old days" before the corporate oligarchy.

The saddest part is that we COULD have put up a real fight--some absolutely DID.

But I think it's too late now--at least for Pennsylvania. What could have been a genuine movement was co-opted early on--no doubt before I ever realized it in those Halcyon days when I thought--I now realize stupidly--that if people just SAW the pictures I (and many others) were taking--THOUSANDS of pictures of this industrial cancer, they'd be so angry and so galvanized that they'd see through the charlatans looking to use the disaster to bolster (or create) their own careers as pseudo-heros.

But, alas, in the face of a culture hell-bent on resignation (to coal and logging), the faux-saviors were easily able to get a foot-hold--convincing people of what had never been true, namely, that the very system that had opened the floodgates to the gassers could be counted on to protect the citizens.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee, 6.26.15

So we wasted precious YEARS going through the motions--hearings, FERC, more hearings, industry sponsored events, polite protests on the steps of the Capital Building on a Tuesday at Noon--a few hours of lock-down, some bail here and there. 

One or two tree sits. 

A few louder protests. 

But the lesson is absolutely clear: 

you can't make a movement out of following the rules of the very system that's responsible for the liquidation of your lands, your water, and your children's futures.

There was never any end to this insanity short of siege after siege after siege of an insurgency whose committed members were willing to be water-canoned, pepper-sprayed, and shot.

We were so afraid of being accused of violence that we never seemed to realize that what we had to be willing to do wasn't PERFORM acts of violence--but PERMIT ourselves to be gasser casualties while the world watched. 
The violence is ALL on the industry's side. We just didn't have the guts to do what was necessary to demonstrate this.
Sit down, and not move until they dragged us away by the thousands over and over and over. 

That, I think, is among the most important insights I have had about the difference between a movement and an insurgency.

That the charlatans--and there are entire organizations large and small who merit this description--the Sierra Club, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, the NRDC, RDA, Clean Water Action, and on and on--could co-opt us into exhausting our time and energy on what could never be other than failures of the efforts of sincere people is, I think, tragic. 

Anadarko Pad 23783, Cop Tract 285, Pad E, Coudersport Pike. Grugan Township, Clinton County, PA
Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee, 6.26.15

That they're STILL able to sucker us is shameful. 

An industry that stands to accrue BILLIONS and BILLIONS more with TPP was never going to do anything but laugh at us until we made them SHOOT us to get out the godamn gas.

That is a basic, I think unequivocal, truth.

Wendy Lynne Lee


Trainer12 said...


Don't despair. Think of how all other past movement for change have happened and how long they took to make progress. Read the late Bill Moyer (NOT the PBS guy!) on his 8 stage Movement Action Plan at: or George Lakey's 5 Stage Strategic framework at:
"The revolution will not be televised." Gil-Scott Heron once wrote and sang. On the contrary, it will be Tweeted, blogged and videostreamed over the Web. If we want it to be nonviolent and transformative, it will be needed to be televised. Read" Revolution 2.0: How the Power of the People Can Overcome the Power of the Few by Wael Ghonim.

Best regards,

Paul Roden

Vera said...

so, what can we do next, Paul, based on the references you posted?

The Industry will have to die a well-deserved death economically, which is happening right now; a dying process;

OPEC dealt us a good hand and started the dying process for the Industry; Development is way down in my county in northeastern Pa... looks like less than 1/2 of previous "hot" years..

One of our treatment plants in Springville is shut down and several compressor stations either shut down or on partial-operating capacity.

Southwestern bought out two gas company leases and inherited their water contamination landowners...and now trying to be a "good neighbor" to help these folks.

More lawsuits abound in my county and more DEP Determination Letters faulting gas drilling for
water contamination.

The Fracturing Machine is being fractured itself...

Royalties way down and more lawsuits from disgruntled landowners as a billboard on a main drag,
route 29, displays "Royalty Rip-off" and lawyers names ...

Any Severance Tax will not save our schools and citizens: 5% of Nothing equals Nothing....

The Gas Industry will not save us ; it will not be able to save itself.

May we learn from the latest Industry lies and Superfund Sites, that we can't expect Industry to be our Savior or the Second Coming of Jesus.

thanks, Wendy, for all your articles, photos and appeals to the united Conscience of Pa. to wake up and smell the Gas....

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

Hey Vera,

Thanks for your post. I wish I could be as optimistic about the fortunes of the gassers, but I'm afraid that we have only seen the first round of extraction. The push for the pipelines will herald in a second round--and that's going to make this first round look like a trip to Disney World. It's the potential for (a) created need at home--gas fired power plants and the like--and (b) export. These companies have invested millions and millions--they're not leaving until every drop of gas is out of the ground. The build out has been in the works for more than a decade--all of it. We just didn't get it.

Note--I'm not saying there's not still time; I'm saying that for however much we have deceived ourselves (and with important exceptions), there was never the will to actually stop the industry. Too many resigned themselves to BS like regulation and "best practices" as, I gather, a way to get to say they "tried," without actually having to take any risk.


Unknown said...

Florida makes a Great Leap backward in this arena. Having shutdown one site (SW Naples area) "Our" Public Service Commission which (in theory only) exists to regulate our Utilities, has just announced a ruling that not only enables unconstrained FRACKING, but allows the utilities to charge their rate payers (victims) in advance all fees related to Fracking and Exploration - in advanced, so thus gouged and poisoned on our own dime. That's the same PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, That ruled the citizens could be billed in advance for any nuclear plants contemplated, not necessarily built but considered, and they get to keep our money, whether they build it or not!

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

HI Rick,

Thank you for your comment. Yup that is indeed insane. But it's perfectly consistent with provisions of the coming Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) being negotiated among 52 signatory countries right along side TPP--potentially even more fundamentally fascist than TPP, but less understood. As the pipeline--the circulatory--infrastructure for future fossil fuel exploration becomes viable, we will see more and more of exactly this--and more and more do nation states become industrialized colonies called "partners" (like Wal-Mart's "associates") for multinational corporate ventures.