Endeavor News Covers Gasland

by Robert Hooftallen
Publisher, Endeavor News

There are few times in life that we hope we are wrong.

Today is one of them for me.

After sitting through the movie “Gasland” at Coudersport High School on Wednesday, I am not only concerned that this beautiful place we call home will end up a wasteland dotted with unsightly, polluting gas wells, I am convinced of it.

We are the perfect target here in meat and potatoes America. We are largely blue collar, uneducated and longing for any economical savior— all prerequisites for an industry looking for resources — and people — to exploit.

If you didn’t go to the movie, you missed something vital to protecting your way of life— and that is knowing what threatens it.

I don’t fall for propaganda easily and I know information can be twisted to suit just about any view, need or course. But this movie was different.

It was us.

Take away the towering, snowcapped mountains of the northwest and the flat fields of Texas and what you have are people who look just like you and me— the working poor with little more to hang their hats on than the ties that bind their families and the generations of heritage they still live to represent.

And while it’s easy to take aim at the industry and the people who work in it, around it or for it, they are victims just like you and me. What they are doing is what everyone is doing: the best they can to feed their families. And they are doing so in an industry that is perfectly legal as the laws stand today.

What should alarm us most is how a practice as clearly dangerous as hydraulic fracturing has not been thoroughly examined with every ounce of federal resources available. There has clearly been a federal force pushing to avoid regulating the industry. It has been so blatant that it defies comprehension as to how it can happen in a “Democracy.”

It is literally impossible for me to understand, or even imagine, how any clear thinking adult could debate whether or not the practice of blasting the earth’s core apart with high pressure sand, water and a host of some of the scariest chemicals on the planet is bad for the environment— nevermind why anyone would want to do that or that the earth’s most precious resource, water, is trapped in the same rock formations.

Plainly, the process by its very nature is fundamentally unsafe.

How the industry gets around being regulated is really the most patently immoral federal loophole that may have ever been created.

In the 2005 federal energy bill, one of the most dubious provisions was the “Halliburton loophole,” which was inserted as a directive from then-Vice President Dick Cheney, a former chief executive of Halliburton.

The loophole strips the environment’s last line of defense— the Environmental Protection Agency— of its authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing. It makes the process exempt from the Clean Air and Safe Drinking Water Acts.

I have a hard time believing that what I just wrote is true, but it is.

And that’s what saddens me most— that we, the people, are powerless. Our ability to govern ourselves is an illusion at best and, given what has happened in this situation, more like a fairy tale.

At 40, I feel as if my future here is being decided for me and the one thing that we all can fall back on— home — is no longer mine, but rather an insignificant obstacle on the verge of annihilation.

And our children?

The reality is we can’t even guarantee them safe air or water.

So really what can we hold our heads up about in this country?


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One Comment

  1. admin says:

    Excellent column Bob.

    Might I just add, that with the ‘Gasman’ Tom Corbett soon to be in office, it appears that regulating this industry has just been made that much more difficult.

    -Tim Hallman
    Editor, CoudyNews.com

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