Friday, February 14, 2014


Barto Compressor Station, Lycoming County, PA
Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee


At the request of a Bloomberg News reporter, I made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of the FBI. Here's what I got back:

Based on the information you provided [name, address, ss#], we conducted a search of the Central Records System. We were unable to identify main file records responsive to the FOIA.

In other words, The FBI has nothing. The letter goes on to issue disclaimers about what's excluded by Congress--but this is all just boiler plate.

But that raises the following question: Mike Hutson is with the Pennsylvania State Police/FBI Joint Ecoterrorism Task Force--so what was he doing at my door? On what possible grounds could he have had reason to drive all the way from Williamsport (about an hour) on a snowy Winter Valentine's Day in the middle of the day with no particular expectation that I'd even be home from work? Who, Officer Hutson do you work for?

The only investigation I have been able to unearth in which Officer Hutson was involved had to do with alleged pipe bombs at 14 locations, but only one identified at a frack pad in Zelienople, PA. But while he canvases a number of possibilities about the culprits--Officer Hutson does not even consider the possibility that the report is false, that even if there were explosive devices found, that they were planted by the industry itself: "With no suspects except in one case, “we don’t know the intent,” said state Trooper Michael Hutson, a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force based in Williamsport" (Hazardous devices found at gas well sites but intent unknown |

Officer Hutson then goes onto say something rather telling: "It does not appear the natural gas industry was targeted because no environmental group has come forward to claim responsibility, he said."

So, again, what brought you to the door of my home, Officer Hutson? What could have possibly justified that visit--paid for by tax dollars, without a warrant, and without any claim of wrong-doing on my part? 

Are we comfortable as a public--as citizens--with State Police/FBI investigators just "comin' to chat awhile"? Coming to our homes on fishing expeditions? 

We should not only find this wholly unacceptable--but clear evidence of a state police whose job has become to run interference in the interest of protecting an industry favored by a corrupt state. 

And anyone who thinks this will change one iota under a Tom Wolf administration is a fool.

Would the gas industry plant its own unexploded explosives in order to prompt the state police to deploy such repressive strategies like paying visits to citizens--effectively criminalizing the exercise of first amendment rights?

Goddamn right they would.

Next: FOIA request at the Pennsylvania State Police--I'll let you know.


"Ace reporter Morgan Myers always get the story straight! Let no one be deluded - there is indeed a causal relationship between Mr. Hutson harassing law-abiding citizens who chose to exercise their constitutional rights and this story in Sun Gazette. However, I would suggest that the relationship is actually the inverse - Mikey, or his industry cronies, put that story out to the Sun Gazette in order to counteract the firestorm of negative publicity that the Joint Terrorism Task Force is receiving as a result of his (and their) blind assumption that anyone who photographs or speaks out publicly against the gas industry is associated with "terrorism".

Think about this - this dude's livelihood is predicated upon combatting "terrorism." Random acts of vandalism against stuff left in the woods hardly qualifies as "terrorism". Are smashed rural mailboxes acts of terrorism against the US mail system? Are the ubiquitous gunshot holes in rural stop signs indicative of a clandestine insurgency against the Department of Transportation? Mikey NEEDS to show he is actually DOING SOMETHING. What better way to maintain funding for his shiny black, freshly-washed, tinted-window, fully accessorized, anti-terrorism, assault vehicle than to inflate the threat perception? Otherwise he is back to working as a crossing guard outside the elementary school.

Not convinced that his "investigations" are not legitimate? This guy used state tax dollars to travel up to New York State to come to the door of Jeremy Alderson (NO FRACK ALMANAC fame) over an alleged "trespassing" claim! When the seismic stooges trespassed on MY LAND three years ago and left cut brush and flagging as evidence the State Police refused to send a trooper out. They told me to call the district attorney's office. When I called the district attorney's office they told me to call the State Police!

Who do YOU think Mikey is protecting? Number one - he is protecting Mikey. Next, he is protecting the interests of wealth and property. He is NOT protecting the community.

And anyone who is reading this industry company newsletter (the Sun Gazette) should only do so to mock the grammer, writing skills and intellectual acumen of the Sun Gazette staff and editor. The vast majority of people who read these local rags are seeking bias confirmation of previously held beliefs, not information that will make them think or, god-forbid, challenge their operational paradigm.

The proper response - satirize them and rob them of all credibility. You do not win by debating them as you can not teach stupid, you win by exposing them as hypocrites and stooges."

Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee


UPDATE 2: My comment (posted below) at the Williamsport Sun Gazette on the wholly fake MORGAN MYERS "news" "story" on ecoterrorism. At least NOW we know why Officer Hutson was at my door.

But here's a short version of my response: Bite. Me. I will not be silenced, deterred, or fear-mongered by anyone--but especially by an industry who--drunk on a devil's brew of arrogant entitlement combined with increasing desperation borne of the fact that their fossil fuel heroin is about to run out--thinks it can dispatch a state police officer/FBI jack boot to my HOME.

"It's stunning that what sadly passes for a newspaper prints as if it were news what is in fact industry fear-mongering propaganda designed to stifle legitimate protest. There was no story here. Morgan Myers is a PAID SHALE PLAY GAS SHILL. This is how a corrupted state, a grossly inept governor, and an industry hellbent on maximizing its profits insures against the increasing public outrage at a process that destroys the conditions of life. For a far truer picture of this collusion see "When the Gas Industry uses the State Police," Wendy Lynne Lee, at The Wrench."

Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee



I was brushing my teeth, and getting kidney meds into my cat, Switch, when I heard my three dogs going nuts downstairs.

I jostled down the stairs, wiping toothpaste off my face to attend to the rapping, and the doggies.

There was a man at the door.

I thought it was a Jehovah Witness, so I was wondering whether to make coffee.

I arrived at the door, signaled to the fellow--who I could now see was holding out a badge--that I needed to get my dogs outside. 'Barky, not bitey," I believe I said.

The man's name is MIKE HUTSON, Pennsylvania State Police, Intelligence Unit, Williamsport Office.

He was investigating reports of "vandalism" at unspecified compressor station locations, and he had with him a copy of the excellent Jeremy Alderson's Fall/Winter (2.2) Edition of the NO FRACK ALMANAC (

He wanted to know about the pictures--the ones I have included here.

He wanted to know about the activists in the anti-fracking movement--and whether or not "they" commit acts of vandalism and/or violence.

He wanted me to give him names of "bad apples."

I know of no such "apples."

So, I scoffed.

Such a notion--as I made very clear to Mr. Hutson--is preposterous.

Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee

I reminded him of the activism of Nelson Mandela, Rigoberta Menchu, Aung San Suu Kyi , Ella Baker, and Martin Luther King, and made very clear that these were our heros.

I mentioned Socrates who was willing to die for what he stood, and that he was executed for daring to question authority.

In fact, if there's to be a discussion of violence, I said, he'd be far better to investigate the industry. It will use whatever it can to silence us--and that is what brought the state police--an intelligence unit in a big black window-tinted van--to my door in rural Pennsylvania.

Many of us in this movement spend time wondering if we are surveilled. We try to avoid paranoia--all the while we know that, given the immense power and money at stake, this is an industry that does not conceive of the law as anything other than either a nuisance or a weapon to cast legitimate exercise of free speech as "eco-terrorism."

We see that everyday in its flagrant flouting of environmental, safety, and zoning law, and in it's liberal use of retired intelligence agents to harass, follow, surveil, and intimidate us.

Many of us have experienced vandalism clearly intended to silence our voices.

I used to wonder if I was surveilled, if my phone was tapped.

Now when I call my mom, I say into the phone that the agent listening might as well go get donuts.

Now I have the state police intelligence unit at my door.

What more effective way to intimidate a movement activist than to make up a complaint about "vandalism" at "compressors" that will get the police to her door?

But I have a message for this industry:


Here's the good news:

First, I got nothin' to hide. In fact, I'll bet that makes the industry even more nervous. I'm a mommy and a professor with some goddamn convictions, a steady paycheck, and a deep sense of duty to my four kids.

Doesn't get more ferocious than that.

Second, as a movement, we must be making some real headway for the industry to go to all the trouble to fake a vague charge against some unspecified folks in order to get an intel-officer dispatched on the tax payer 's dime and time to the door of an activist with no arrest record, no history of violence.

What she's got is a raft-load of knowledge about an industry that ought to be criminalized, a capacity to write down what she knows, a good camera, and some guts.

And she's keeping all four.

*Update: Thank you "BJ" for bringing the following two items to my attention--particularly thefact that Mr. Hutson is with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Wendy Lynne Lee

Shale Justice

All photographs: Wendy Lynne Lee, taken with a Nikon, and a telephoto lens on PUBLIC ROADS.

Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee



Thursday, February 13, 2014

John Hanger Wants To Be Your Big Gas Greenwash Governor: A Gander at His Gubernatorial Campaign Donors

When I came upon this campaign advertisement for John Hanger's run for the Democratic Party's governor's race nomination, I had to laugh--in that dark "this is just surreal" kind of way. It's not just that Dimock resident, "Gasland Starlet," now welcomed to the pro-gas fold ( Victoria Switzer, has gone "total commitment" for Hanger. It's not even that the language of the ad is grammatically awkward, "I do not want the candidate that is given a thumbs up by the industry" (

It's that the ad's claim that "For sure, the gas companies do not want Hanger" is patently, demonstrably, laughably false.

The gas industry would love a Hanger governorship. Let's ask, for example, Hanger's campaign donors:

1. Eckert Seamans, for whom Hanger is employed as "special council," has donated $5,000. But, among other endeavors, Eckert Seamans makes a very tidy sum defending the natural gas industry. Here's just one example of Eclert Seaman's devotion to the continuing development of natural gas:

Eckert Seamans’ Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) practice group is dedicated to the development of a growing, sustainable and profitable market for vehicles powered by natural gas and hydrogen in the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic regions. We are focused on assisting and representing companies interested in the promotion and use of natural gas and hydrogen as transportation fuels or energy sources, including: local port authorities, trucking companies and transporters, vehicle and equipment manufacturers; fleet operators and service providers; natural gas distributors and producers. We will strive to help industry create and develop a profitable, sustainable and growing market for vehicles powered by natural gas and hydrogen.

Our Mission:

To be the primary "go-to" law firm for the NGV industry who reaches positive solutions through collective action; to provide sophisticated, innovative and high quality legal services, serve as a trusted advisor who will facilitate development, seek incentives for clients and successfully navigate the regulatory morass at both state and federal levels; to leverage our interdisciplinary skills, knowledge and experience from a wide variety of legal disciplines to address the broad spectrum of issues facing the dynamic natural gas vehicle industry; and to effectively guide our clients through strategic decisions, policy initiatives, commercial transactions, project financing and development, state and federal regulatory proceedings and litigation.

Clearly, a Hanger election is a win for Eckert Seamans' natural gas vehicle "mission."

In fact, when you read Eckert Seamans' "Environmental Practice" page, what you discover is that what these folks mean by "environmental" is defending its "heavy industrial and manufacturing clients against, well, folks from places like Switzer's Dimmock. Cue the dark, just surreal, laugh here:

The Environmental Group of Eckert Seamans is national in scope and is as diverse and broad-based as the subject matter itself. In addition to the firm’s traditional heavy industrial and manufacturing clients which include steel, glass, aluminum, chemical, coal, natural gas and other industries and manufacturers, as well as electric, gas, water and waste water utilities, the firm also represents financial institutions, real estate developers, food processors, construction and high tech companies. The firm’s clients range from closely held businesses to large publicly held companies.The firm’s environmental lawyers assist and counsel clients with compliance, enforcement, self disclosure, permitting, government rulemaking, responding to information requests, strategic planning and other matters that are subject to the major environmental regulatory programs, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and their state and local counterparts in numerous jurisdictions across the country.

In other words, Eckert Seamans helps keep companies like Cabot from being sued, and their lawyers like John Hanger get paid good money (say, like the 430,000 Hanger donated to his own campaign) to insure minimal compliance--what groups like Breathe Easy Susquehanna County want to sucker us into believing is a company's employ of "best practices." Then they greenwash it all by calling "compliance" environmental.

How surreal is that?

Only slightly more so than the "Practice Area" Energy page:

The Energy Group represents every segment of the natural resources industry, including renewable energy companies, traditional utilities, domestic energy companies, foreign energy companies, mineral companies, exploration and extraction companies, financial institutions, private equity firms, government entities, and other companies associated with the natural resource industry.

In other words, pay us, and we will defend whatever form of extraction you're into.

Even better:

As the domestic and international market for energy becomes more diverse and globally connected, it is important to select counsel that has the depth of knowledge, understanding and multidisciplinary experience to provide efficient and cost-effective representation.

Translation: We can't wait for those export depots like the one Dominion has planned at Cove Point Maryland goes into LNG transport.

But the real kicker is the Eckert Seamans "Marcellus Shale" "Practice Area" page where they announce right at the top their proud membership in the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry funded trade group whose membership includes not only some of the worst polluters and human rights violators on the planet, for example, Chevron (, but the very companies responsible for the gag order agreed to by Switzer concerning water contamination (

So: Switzer (and Breathe Easy Susquehanna County) are supporting for governor an attorney who works for a powerful law firm that actively defends the gas companies against people just like her, and belongs to an organization--the Marcellus Shale Coalition--whose membership includes the company--Cabot--who is not only responsible for massive ecological and water damage in Dimock, but has somehow persuaded her to never talk about that fact. And to add surreal insult to injury--Hanger was head of DEP all the while Cabot was converting Dimock into a frack-gas extraction colony (

Talk about your facts of the day. Sheesh!

But the gas-soaked campaign donations don't stop with Eckert Seamans.

2. There's the $1,000 from discredited Penn State Professor Terry Engelder, the self-styled "father" of the shale gas boom (

3. There's Seth Obitz, $5,000 of Worley and Obitz (

We offer a wide array of energy products and services for your home, business and fleet, including AMERIgreen Energy products, 100% American Fuels, propane, farm propane, electricity, natural gas and natural gas conversions, heating oil, biofuels, renewable energy, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) service and HVAC installations, fleet fueling, and wholesale transport trucking.

4. There's the $1,000 from EQT:

EQT has poured nearly $328,000 into Pennsylvania elections since 2001 and $281,000 into statewide races across the country since 2003. On the whole, the fracking industry has spent $23 million to influence Pennsylvania politics since 2003. What do EQT and the rest of the industry reap from this political spending? On the national level, the industry’s influence has resulted in fracking– the process of injecting millions of gallons of toxin-laced water deep underground in order to break up shale rocks and extract “natural” gas – being exempt from major environmental regulations, including the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. In Pennsylvania, 47 percent of state forestlands have been leased to shale drillers and 80 percent of state park mineral rites have been privatized. The influence is also obvious when you look at EQT’s tax receipts. EQT’s effective federal tax rate over the past five years was -1 percent – meaning that, instead of paying, the corporation actually received $2 million back from the IRS. In Pennsylvania – where EQT is headquartered – the corporation’s five-year effective tax rate was only 0.1 percent. (

5. There's the $1,000 from Joseph Dworetzky, an attorney from Hangley, Aronchick, Segal, Pudlin, Schiller:

We have been involved in projects to assist clients with both traditional and alternative energy projects. For example, we have assisted clients with myriad permitting aspects of wind farms, as well as permitting issues associated with the build-out of new pipeline systems. We have also been involved in representing landowners in negotiating agreements for the development of natural gas resources in the Marcellus Shale region. (

6. There's $2,000 from Steven Kean, Kinder Morgan, the folks who'd build the Tennessee Pipeline that could effectively end the fracking moratorium in the Delaware River Basin:

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline—the Northeast Upgrade Project—is essential to Kinder-Stiltskin’s vision: “The 13,900-mile Tennessee Gas Pipeline serves the Northeast with access to the Marcellus and Utica shale plays” transporting natural gas from “Louisiana, the Gulf of Mexico and south Texas.” (Kinder Morgan – Tennessee Gas Pipeline). KMEP promises a myriad array of benefits including the hire of local union-shop workers, revenue for local businesses, and an energy source that is “versatile, clean, and abundant” (Benefits of Natural Gas | Northeast Upgrade Project). The KMEP strategy is clear: amass as much pipeline infrastructure as possible across a wide array of extraction ventures (including, but not limited to, shale plays), distributing both risks and gains across that array, thereby defraying against production declines, and limiting competition. Then, via the advantageous corporate structure provided by the MLP, utilize incoming revenues to acquire additional pipeline. For example, KMEP “operates the only pipeline that carries tar sands crude out of Alberta over the Rocky Mountains to its tanker terminal in Vancouver. Kinder acquired the Trans Mountain Pipeline in 2005 and now seeks to expand it from 300,000 barrels per day to 750,000 bpd by building a new $4 billion pipe alongside the first. He’s already signed up nine oil companies eager to fill the proposed line with their crude.” Kinder is also gearing up for the Northern Gateway Project as well as part of the action in the Keystone XL Pipeline “to bring more oil sands crude into the U.S. and ultimately down to Gulf Coast refineries,” much to the discontent of environmentalists, (Rich Kinder’s Energy Kingdom – Forbes) (.

In other words, Hanger takes campaign donations from a corporation invested and committed to the Keystone XL Pipeline (

7. There's $5,000 from Charif Souki--WOW! Here's just a tiny sample, "The Export King: Meet America's Unlikeliest Gas Mogul":

Souki and his top executives were becoming more committed to the idea of exporting natural gas. They were convinced that they could retrofit the Louisiana terminal to make it capable of turning natural gas into LNG for selling abroad. In the early spring of 2010, Souki and his team received an estimate from Bechtel, the global construction firm, with a cost to reconfigure their plant. Bechtel judged it would cost about $450 for each ton of LNG it wanted to export. At that price, it would cost over $8 billion to convert the terminal into one that could export natural gas using four “trains,” or liquefaction and purification units. That would be enough to ship 18 million tons of gas a year. (

In other words, Hanger is taking money from folks committed to shipping natural gas overseas. So much for his stake in "American, cheap, natural, and abundant."

8. There's $10,000 from Steve Huntoon, Florida Power and Light--also, WOW!. I'll let you read the FERC decision for yourselves:

9. There's the $3,000 from Nora Meade Brownell: "Nora Mead Brownell is the co-founder of Espy Energy Solutions, LLC, an energy consulting firm and a former Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from 2001–2006 under the administration of President George W. Bush."

Nora currently serves on the boards of the following public companies: Comverge, Inc. as the chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee and Spectra Energy Partners LP (

Spectra Energy Partners, LP (

The Spectra pipeline, a high-pressure natural gas delivery system that aims to bring hundreds of millions of barrels of hydrofracked gas directly into New York City, has sparked controversy just a few short months before its scheduled completion . The $1.2 billion project will pipe 800 million barrels of natural gas a day directly underneath Manhattan's iconic West Village neighborhood. The pipeline is an extension of Houston-based Spectra Energy's Texas Eastern gas delivery network, which exploits the huge Utica and Marcellus shale natural gas resources in western Pennsylvania and Ohio. But now, with the pipeline nearly complete (construction started almost a year ago and is expected to be done by November), activists are up in arms...High-pressure pipelines are also liable to explode, as the video points out. In 2012 alone, there were 244 significant incidents on U.S. pipelines that caused a total of 10 deaths and more than $180 million of property damage, according to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA.)...Spectra's safety record isn't exactly pristine. An explosion at a large underground Texas gas facility that was owned by Spectra's parent company, Duke Energy, caused a 1,000 foot-high fireball in 2004 that led to the evacuation of hundreds of residents within a three-mile radius of the storage facility, the Houston Chronicle reported at the time. (The explosion, caused by a faulty valve, was followed by a second explosion that prompted a second, wider, evacuation.) (

So here's the simple upshot:

John Hanger could not be more in the tank for the gas. While he takes other money (from EverPower Wind, for example:, there simply is no denying that he solicits--and gets--donations from folks who will certainly expect Hanger to be every bit as frack-friendly as his predecessor.

And we have every reason to think he will be.

The only interesting question (and not very) is why all these Big Gas Companies haven't donated more. but that's actually pretty easy: they're hedging their bets. After all, they've got a pretty full slate on the Democrats side of candidates happy and willing to do their bidding. In fact the only two who won't are Paul Glover, Green Party ( who, if tradition sets the standard, may get to act as a spoiler, or Mad Max Myers, whose religious affiliations and apparent anti-gay beliefs have likely already sunk his candidacy (

Nope, what this sad story points to--even beyond fracking--is the sheer vacuity of the political process, especially with respect to elections. I am tempted to conclude that this means we've got nobody. But the truth is just the opposite:

We have our collective will, our capacity to build community rights organizations, our commitment to stand up against both corrupt politicians who'd sucker us into believing--like the sad folks at Breathe Easy Susquehanna County ( there's some magical causal powers attached to phrases like "best practices," and "being realistic."

As I have said many times now, "To hell with being "realistic."

No movement for anything worthwhile got a damn thing done by being "realistic." Better that we should do a little real work--as I have done here--vetting a candidate.

Better that we should risk practically everything, as Socrates advised, than lose it all to the cowardice that "being realistic" really means.

A primary vote for John Hanger is a vote for the continued march to 100,000 frack gas wells in Pennsylvania, with all the bells and whistles--pollutions and explosions and disease--that go with them. It's a vote for frack gas export. It's a vote for climate change.

And if you've read this piece, your excuse for remaining self-deluded about what Hanger really stands for is over--and it ain't you.

* Awesome poster by Paul Glover, Pennsylvania Green Party candidate for governor.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

'Regulation?" Don't Mean a Damn Thing in Pennsylvania: Comments on the Greene County Gas Well Explosion

I posted the following as comment at the Marcellus Monitor, Amanda Gillooly, Editor, on her excellent Op-Ed, "Accountability Should Be Demanded in Wake of Green County Gas Well Explosion, " (

How many accidents like this will have to occur before we collectively decide we have had ENOUGH? Why don't we call CHEVRON--one of the world's WORST human rights violators--what it IS--a sponsor of industrialized TERRORISM? Why on earth do we continue to accede our rights as citizens and human agents to this predictable, preventable VIOLENCE?

And they call US the terrorists?"

But I'd add this: If THIS is the best--and it IS--that we can expect from "regulation," imagine what we're in for if the export facilities at locations like Cove Point, MD become a reality.

Imagine accidents like this magnified by 100,000 wells--and their compressors, pipelines, transport tankers, etc. Imagine this occurring, say, at the EXCO 7 well head pad on Rt 118 less than a driver's minute over an old bridge from an elementary school near Lairdsville, PA, and on a rural route shared by school buses and frack waste tanker trucks. Wanna see just how close that is? Look here:

Or how about the Inflection Nature Boy Costello Pad, Rt. 87, Montoursville, PA--directly across a road heavily travelled by school buses and local traffic from an established residential neighborhood:

Regulation means nothin' but "controlling the rate--not the AMOUNT--of harm.

Scratch that--it doesn't even mean that.

2,200 gas wells

20-30 workers on site.

One worker still missing. Last seen near another worker injured in the explosion.

"Putting out the fire could take three days."

"An explosion that could be heard clear across town."

Seriously, WHAT is it going to take to convince us that life is more valuable than money?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mad Max Myers is not my Anti-Fracking Savior

Recently, in the interest of providing our coalition membership an opportunity to educate themselves about the ideological commitments, policy positions, and political strategies of candidates aspiring to the nomination for Pennsylvania governor, Shale Justice met with aspirant Max Myers. Mr. Myers represents himself as the best possible candidate for the anti-fracking community across Pennsylvania, and is thus far the only candidate who claims to support a moratorium on new gas industry permits.

He sounds great.

Moreover, in our meeting with Mr. Myers, he was gracious, liberal with his time, and seemed interested in our perspective and questions. He is immensely affable.

It's thus that much more unfortunate that, at that meeting, he so woefully misrepresented by omission his ideological commitments, and that these commitments are, in fact, not merely inconsistent with the progressive base whom he wishes to court, but anathema to the separation of church and state, the basic human rights of gays and lesbians, and the reproductive rights of women. It is one thing to hold, for example, that gays and lesbians ought not to be permitted the right to marry. That's a rough enough bullet to bite for folks--especially women like myself--who've cut their activist teeth in the trenches of the civil rights movements in America. But it's another altogether to hold the view that gays and lesbians are possessed by demons, and thus presumably are in need of exorcism and salvation. Yet Mr. Myers led for six years the Global School of Supernatural Ministry (GSSM) (, part of the Apostolic Network of Global Awakening (ANGA) --known more for its Pentacostal-style faith healing and other appeals to the far right fringe supernatural than for its purchase on reason (

Indeed, no matter where one stands on these other hot-button issues, it's hard to imagine even fairly conservative Republican voters finding themselves comfortable with what can only be described as the authoritarian, theocratic, and just plain whacky vision of Max Myer's America. Moreover, this is a "whacky" with consequences. The sorts of beliefs GSSM and ANGA advocate fuel the sorts of actions responsible for the beating murders of young men like Michael Shepherd, the horrific anti-gay policies of Uganda, the plainly bigoted policies of Russia.

Beliefs have consequences, and we cannot afford the beliefs of candidates like Max Myers no matter how much we want that moratorium.

When we originally met with Myers, I was concerned about two things:

1. His evident non-commital if not cagey non-response to my direct questions about his position on gay rights and women's reproductive rights. Though it was difficult to make out just what he was saying, it seemed to be that he did not want to alienate voters or distract them from the bigger issue (fracking) by coming out before the primaries with a policy position on these issues. He made it out as a matter of strategy--but implied that he was with his progressive base.

2. His apparent lack of any very sophisticated understanding of the issues relevant to extreme extraction. For a candidate who claims that he is going to make fracking and energy policy more generally a major campaign issue, Mr. Myers evinced at best a cursory understanding not only of what all is involved with respect to the processes associated with fracking, but had fairly little idea of the immense amount of work that has already gone into opposing it.

So--I wrote Mr. Myers a letter--before I knew anything about GSSM or ANGA:

Dear Max,

First, let me thank you sincerely for coming to speak to Shale Justice. We appreciate the time you took greatly.

Second--and I am now simply speaking to you as a citizen of the Commonwealth--I have spent some quality time on your website. I appreciate your observation concerning fracking that "the procedure should be stopped until such a time as the industry demonstrates that they can employ a procedure that does not contaminate our drinking water and pollute the atmosphere." That you specifically support the moratorium distinguishes you from every other candidate in the Democratic Party--and I think that this could be your winning hand in the primary. Perhaps I'm the crazy one, but I feel quite sure you're not a "crazy fanatic, a lunatic, and a poor representation of a minister" as the one radio host endeavored to describe you--and I'm a garden variety atheist. I very much appreciated the time you took to talk with me after the "official" evening had concluded--I know you surely were as beat as I was--so thanks.

Third, I have thought a fair lot about that conversation, and I wonder if I may venture a couple of observations--intended to be helpful:

a) The conversation we had about reproductive healthcare rights--including access to abortions--seems fairly similar to the one recounted here:

"I asked Max Myers, assuming this abortion ban gets signed into law, would he support repealing it as governor. I couldn’t really get a straight answer. He said he’s trying to stay away from social issues like abortion on his campaign, but I insisted that if he was governor and that abortion ban was law and he had a repeal bill on his desk, he’d either have to sign it or veto it, he’d have to make a decision one way or the other. Well, he still wouldn’t give a real answer. To be honest, my natural inclination is to suspect he’s for the abortion ban, but I have to admit that if I was for the abortion ban and he gave me the same non-answer, I’d probably suspect he was against it. So at best, his position is unknown, and I think it is perfectly fair to hold his unwillingness to take a position against him on this issue. It’s impossible to have it both ways. You can’t hope to get both pro-choice and anti-choice people on your side by refusing to give an answer on the issue, and you might even invite opposition from both camps (

Assuming this is an accurate reflection of that interaction, and after some reflection of my own, I'd have to say that this writer seems correct--it IS fair to hold your unwillingness on this issue against you because it IS very important to thousands of people, it IS a matter of human rights, and whatever your moral (or pastoral) position may be on abortion, per se, these, I think you'd agree, are not strictly relevant to your run for the gubernatorial nomination for the Democrats. Put differently: I appreciate that you do not want to make yourself a target of the Republicans by coming out as a progressive on women's reproductive rights--but--and I cannot stress this enough:

You will risk losing the support of key members of the anti-fracking movement if you do not take a clear-sighted pro-reproductive rights position BEFORE the primary. The KEY organizers, writers, activists in the GRASSROOTS of the PA anti-fracking movement are WOMEN:

Karen Feridun--Berks Gas Truth
Maya van Rossum, Tracey Carlucci: Delaware River Keepers
Sue Laidacker, Wendy Lynne Lee, Carol Parowski: Shale Justice
Dory Hippauf: Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition
Deirdre Lolley: Marcellus Earth First

And this is a tiny selection of names--there are hundreds more--in vital decision-making capacities. This fact is what distinguishes the grassroots movement in PA from the Big Greens--the Sierra Club, for example, whose position on fracking is only recently moved in the direction even of regulation, and with whom we have at best a contentious and wary relationship. Many of their members will get behind Hanger--just as those who support regulation within the anti-fracking movement have (Breathe Easy Susquehanna County, for instance). They mostly either waffle on the moratorium--or oppose it, like Hanger himself. From our point of view, regulation is nothing but code for the control of the rate of harm--NOT the amount. Just as there is no such thing as a little bit of acceptable slavery, so too there is no such thing as a little bit of acceptable cancer, neuro-toxin disease, endocrine disruption, etc. We want a candidate that will stand up for the human rights contained in the environmental rights provision of the Pennsylvania Constitution--and this candidate must stand for ALL human rights.

The reason taking a pro-reproductive health rights position before the primary is, in my view, critical to win the support of these grassroots organizers is not, however, only because they're women--but because they (we) are mostly veterans of precisely those battles. We are the progressive women of the Democratic Party (or among the independents)--and we have put countless hours into the defense of women's reproductive rights. COUNTLESS. Moreover, we see that these issues are intimately connected in many ways. For example, some evidence shows that exposure to frack-related toxins may deleteriously affect fetal gestation ( There is clear evidence that shows benzene--a carcinogen in the frack cocktail) is a causal agent in breast cancer ( We are also far too sophisticated to be one issue voters--and that's because we see these connections. We're just not going to sell ourselves out on one issue in order to support the candidate that claims to be able to deliver on another. We know that such an approach is wholly self-defeating.

b) Ditto for gay rights--including the right to marry.
c) To turn to fracking specifically for a moment--we had discussed at the meeting with Shale Justice the tremendous significance of the drive to construct pipeline infrastructure, and that many of us in the activist community hold the view that this is where our attention and work needs to turn if we are going to prevent a catastrophe for the state (and for our sister states). I simply want to reiterate that key point, and add that among the vital things we have learned is that "fracking" is NOT just about what happens at the well pad. It is an enormous environmentally liquidating industrial colonization of the Marcellus Shale--and all of the people, flora and fauna who inhabit these regions. If those pipelines and their export facilities are constructed, we face becoming an effective gas-factory for multinationals whose only real sense of patriotism is the American flag they wave as an advertising strategy. The idea that natural gas is an avenue to national security and energy independence is ludicrous--indeed, precisely the reverse is true. As our municipalities become more and more eroded--both ecologically, economically, and with respect to the social fabric--we become a weaker nation, not a stronger one. (I have written on this subject pretty extensively: The overturning of Act 13 was a tremendous victory and opportunity to build momentum towards a moratorium--but the vast majority of us in the anti-fracking movement see that moratorium as a strategy to buy time towards a ban. To be very clear: even IF the drilling process could be rendered safe (and monitored in perpetuity), that is only a FRACTION of the drilling-to-LNG-export process. From the well pads (and the immense ecological disturbance this process causes there) to the pipelines, to the compressors, to the dehydrators, to the waste tankers, the chemical crew cabs, to the derricks, to the waste processing facilities, to the deep injection wells, to the road damage, to the bridge damage, to the LNG export depots--the truth is that there is NO way this process can be rendered safe. From both the clear science and the obvious practical effects--ecological, economic, and social--we don't need more study.

We NEED a BAN. Should you ever like to tour some sites you'll find convincing, let me know. I am more than happy to show you what this looks like 40 minutes from my house. Should you like to canvas some photographs of both the destruction and the resistance to it, please go here:

That's it for now--I am sorely tempted to try to engage you on union rights, and the recent (grotesquely misnamed) "right to work" legislation introduced in the PA legislature, and your view on the Affordable Heathcare Act, and the increasing penchant for surveillance both at the federal and state levels--especially of environmental activists. But I have "talked your ear off" already.

Thanks for listening.


I received a short, but friendly response from Mr. Myers that he and his wife were on a short vacation, and that he'd respond more fully soon.


But then, in the course of my own research, a thirty second Google search, and with thanks to the awesome Sean Kitchen of Raging Chicken Press, I discovered GSSM, ANGA and Max Myer's connection to the New Apostolic Reformation:

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a title used to describe a movement within Protestant Christianity largely associated with the Pentecostal and the Charismatic movements. Its fundamental difference from other movements is the belief that the lost offices of church governance, namely the offices of prophet and apostle are being restored.. The New Apostolic Reformation is a title originally used by C. Peter Wagner to describe a movement within Pentecostal and charismatic churches. The title New Apostolic Reformation is descriptive of a theological movement and is not an organization and therefore doesn't not have formal membership. Among those in the movement that inspired the title NAR, there is a wide range of variance on specific beliefs. Those within the movement hold to their denominational interpretations of the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit within each believer. Unlike some parts of Protestant Christianity, these include the direct revelation of Christ to each believer, prophecy, and the performance of miracles such as healing. This move has also been given the descriptive title, the Third Wave of the Holy Spirit. Although the movement regards the church as the true body of saved believers, as most Evangelical Protestants do, it differs from the broader Protestant tradition in its view on the nature of church leadership, specifically the doctrine of Five-Fold Ministry, which is based upon a non-traditional interpretation of Ephesians 4:11. C. Peter Wagner writes that most of the churches in this movement have active ministries of spiritual warfare.[3] As an example of this warfare he claims that God acted through him to end mad-cow disease in Germany. In an article responding to criticism of the NAR, Wagner notes that those who affiliate themselves with the movement believe the Apostles’ Creed and all the orthodoxy of Christian doctrine, so that the movement is therefore not heretical.Wagner has listed the differences between the NAR and traditional Protestantism as follows:
Apostolic governance – The Apostle Paul's assertion that Jesus appoints apostles within his church continues to this day.

The office of the prophet – There is within the church a role and function for present-day prophets.

Dominionism – "When Jesus came, He brought the kingdom of God and He expects His kingdom-minded people to take whatever action is needed to push back the long-standing kingdom of Satan and bring the peace and prosperity of His kingdom here on earth."

Theocracy – Not to be confused with theocratic government but rather the goal to have "kingdom-minded people" in all areas of society. There are seven areas identified specifically: religion, family, education, government, media, arts & entertainment, and business.

Extra-biblical revelation – There is available to all believers the ability to hear from God. "The one major rule governing any new revelation from God is that it cannot contradict what has already been written in the Bible. It may supplement it, however.

Supernatural signs and wonders – Signs and wonders such as healing, demonic deliverance and confirmed prophecies accompany the move of God.

Relational structures – church governance has no formal structure but rather relational and voluntary alignment to apostles. (

Lest we think Mr. Myer's connection to a movement whose believers think that their pentacostalism can be credited for the cure of mad cow disease is fleeting, a youthful indiscretion, or that he's clearly disavowed such bat-shit crazy talk--well, no. As Rachel Tabachnick shows in her 3.13.13 piece, "NAR Leader Running for Governor in Pennsylvania - As a Democrat," Myers joined internationally known ANGA apostle, Randy Clark as recently as 2007 ( ). Fact is that as recently as the 2014 mission trip application for ANGA members, the applicant must answer the question whether he/she "has ever been involved with drug abuse, homosexuality, or the occult?"

Time for another letter--but this time, I sent it out to as wide a swath of anti-fracking activists as I could muster:

Dear fellows--

Thanks to my good friend and excellent writer Sean Kitchen at Raging Chicken, I was alerted to some VERY disturbing stuff about our new friend Max Myers--there is NO POSSIBLE WAY we can with any credibility lend support to this campaign (even as private citizens).

Here's Sean's piece:

Here's the name of his 2009 book:

The Tail That Wags The Dog: A Journey Towards Supernatural Leadership

Here's even more disturbing stuff:

He RAN the Global School of Supernatural Ministry:

It teaches that "homosexuality can be caused by demon possession."


He is involved in a religious fringe movement: Apostolic and Prophetic:

"On March 18th, Max Myers officially kicked off his campaign for Pennsylvania governor at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia. Touting himself as a moderate Democrat, Myers failed to mention his leadership in a politico-religious movement that believes in casting out “gay demons.”" (



Needless to say, the post eventually made its way to Mr. Myers who responded that he was "saddened" that I had "attacked" and "accused him," that I was "throwing him under the bus," and that he'd "appreciate it" if I'd be one of the leaders to "help him" "get the troops lined up" to get a moratorium. He appealed to the exam,ple of Martin Luther King to substantiate his commitment to civil rights.

Here is how I responded:

Good morning Max,

Thank you for responding. Please let me respond to your letter--I am going to number my comments just for clarity:

1. I am wholly unsure what you mean by "actions and accusations." I have accused you of nothing--I have simply made available to a wide constituency of relevant citizens materials anyone can google for themselves. These materials contain facts relevant to your candidacy that voting citizens have a right and a responsibility to know so that they can make an informed decision of conscience once they enter that polling booth.

2. You are in fact associated--and have LED--organizations whose view of homosexuality is that it is demonic possession. I can only assume you concur with that view because (a) I can find no source where you explicitly and publicly denounce it, (b) you are wholly non-committal when pressed to take any position--and that lends further force to the claim that you endorse it, and (c) this is in no way a view one has to dig for--it comes up immediately in a recent search. Ditto for women's rights--which are women's reproductive rights.

3. You may have indeed left the Republican Party--but this is largely irrelevant when the view you clearly advocate is theocratic and violates the separation of church and state. That you have an ongoing connection to the Dominionist Movement is something voters have a right to know since it instantiates a specifically theocratic ideology that--were virtually any facet of it enacted as law--would substantially alter the very ways in which we all live, and in ways that would violate in deep-going ways the civil liberties contained in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (

4. You provide no evidence in your missive here of your support of gay rights or women's rights--and opening up your campaign in a location connected to gay persons (The William Way Center) is absolutely NOT support for gay rights--it IS political window-dressing. You led for six years an organization, the Global School of Supernatural Ministry, that is associated with an endorsement of policies (including Uganda's) that have led to widespread violence against gays (

5. There is little evidence that you in fact support the war on fracking as anything other than the only issue with which you can reach progressives. Such motives can only be counted as political expediency--not a commitment to either human rights of ecological integrity. This is not "leadership." It is pandering. Moreover, what research into your theocratic commitments shows is that you hold views anathema to any view of human rights that includes all human beings regardless sexual orientation. The page on your own website reflects little more than a cursory understanding of the issues relevant to extreme extraction, and it contains inconsistencies. You cannot coherently both hold that we ought to enact a moratorium AND hold that you favor an extraction (do you mean severance?) tax. The latter presupposes the continuation of fracking; the former advocates a halt. It was also very unclear at your meeting with members of Shale Justice that you had conducted even a cursory level of homework on these issues. You do not appear to really understand what was in Act 13, or any of the copious relevant legislation currently at issue.

6. To appeal to MLK may seem quite honorable--but it is compromised by a history of explicit views and associations that are inconsistent with that view.

I believe that my candidates have a responsibility to inform me of whatever may be relevant to my making an informed thinking decision about my vote. At the meeting with members of Shale Justice, you effectively dissimulated by omission insofar as you did NOT inform us of your theocratic commitments, and you demurred with respect to your view of gay rights and women's rights. This, it turns out, did not merely feel dishonest, it WAS dishonest.

Thing is, perhaps you don't hold any of these views any longer--but it doesn't really matter. That you can hold views that are so profoundly irrational and potentially violent in their consequences must at the very least raise a red flag for any thinking voter. It's not as if you merely held the view that, say, gays ought not be allowed to marry. That would be difficult enough for any progressive. You endorsed a view that would allow gays to be subjected to violence in the name of "liberating" them from demonic possession--that's in a whole other league. And it does not bespeak a life devoted to "reconciling people" unless what you mean by that is through oppressive measures designed to enforce adherence to religious ideology.

I am truly sorry Max--but yours is not a candidacy that I can support without the serious compromise of my commitment to human rights. You're correct when you say that a candidate's religious beliefs should not be strictly relevant to the judgment of her or his strength AS a candidate. But that presupposes he or she does not intend to govern from the pulpit. Everything researchable about you says otherwise.

With respect,

Wendy Lynne Lee

The central question, however, is why any of us would go to so much trouble to even vet a candidate who stood so little chance of getting the democratic party nomination.

I think the answer is clear and compelling:

Because we NEED a candidate who will stand up against an industry who is turning Pennsylvania into an extraction colony owned and operated by multinational corporations so powerful that they have their own standing armies.

That's why. And we need her or him to win.

That's manifestly not John Hanger--who works for a law firm that defends the gas companies against us (

It's not Alison Schwartz who calls the moratorium "misguided" (

Are there others? Not who stand much of a chance--even if they don't traffic in crazy as does Mad Max.

Beliefs have consequences. So, if--as some folks responding to my posts with tremendous anger clearly do--you want to see a theocrat in the governor's office who may or may not be committed to a fracking moratorium, apparently thinks gays are in need of exorcism, is at a minimum very shaky on the rights of women, and just may be trying to appeal to you as a progressive by playing the frack-card 'cuz he's got nothing else to get your attention--if you're OK with all that, Mad Max Myers is your guy.

But if it's not, gaining a fracking moratorium is not worth sacrificing everything else.

Makes Corbett look pretty good.

Nah. Just kidding.