What I know about geology and mining could be carved on the head of a pin with a dull butter knife. I am pretty sure that I was probably taught something about it in school. If I was, it didn’t stick. I do, however, know when I am being fracked. And I think I am. Well not me personally. But I think our area is being bent over. Whether you spell it with an a or a u, I think the end result is the same. Something is inserted, fluid is deposited and then a withdrawal is made. The mess is left for the penetrated to clean up.
In case you have no idea what the frack I am talking about, here is my limited understanding. Very similar to the discovery that you could burn coal and that there was a lot of it in the ground of NEPA, the folks that know about such things have discovered another rock in our dirt here that they think can make them money. Marcellus Shale. Trapped inside these rocks is more natural gas than you would encounter at the Plymouth Kielbasa Festival. Obviously the big natural gas guys want it.
What is being done is directional drilling underground to reach the rocks, and then water is pumped into the rock under high pressure in a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to release the gas. It’s sort of a one-cheek sneak done to Mother Nature. More than a few things bother me about this. First, this area was without a doubt screwed by the extraction of coal from the ground. Ugly piles of culm, pollution and a generation of men with black lung are the results I see. Would you not be a little suspicious of strangers from out of town who want to do basically the same thing? Secondly, they are offering to make people, landowners, rich. All you have to do is let them drill and pump, and everything will be fine. Strangers who want to make me rich make me go hmmmm. And thirdly, I don’t think that it’s an accident that the process involved is one or so letters away from words I can’t use in this column.
I have seen lots of press about this. Little of it is positive. Already there was a spill of fracking fluid. Fish died. A creek was polluted. The frackers said “ooops.” And yet landowners are signing up, and big trucks with lots of pipes are barreling down our highways. The gas guys say “trust us.” I dunno about you, but when someone says “trust me,” I tend to hear “we will frack you.” Or words to that effect.
I could be wrong. Hope so.