Questions and Answers: How to Energize the State of West Virginia?

by S. Tom Bond on May 23, 2013

Natural Gas Flame

Commentary by S. Tom Bond, Resident Farmer, Jane Lew, Lewis County, WV

America’s Natural Gas Alliance and Energize WV with Natural Gas held another of its Town Hall information meetings in Buckhannon Wednesday evening, May 22. The presentation and room decoration were similar to a one I attended at Bridgeport a year or so ago, perhaps a little less elaborate.

There was a talk by a good female speaker emphasizing the points the industry wishes the audience to accept: economic effect, fracking is not new technology, everything is done to avoid water contamination, they are thoroughly regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection, gas is the coming thing, and basically no one is harmed. Then a well prepared video give much the same points with pictures and (very few) graphics. The visual displays around the room were much more limited than the previous meeting I attended. But the obligatory sweet food bar was present.

A little over half the 100 or so seats available were occupied. Quite a few industry people present. They were office workers in casual clothes, heavy labor was conspicuously absent. The rest of the crowd was “civilians.”

After the presentation, the floor was opened for questions to a panel of four central West Virginia management employees. The first few questions were soft, but after the first hard question was asked a flood of more pointed questions came out. One involved the “Halliburton loophole,” another recent research in water contamination, and still another was “Isn’t our water being destroyed?” Property rights questions were popular, several coming from people who appeared to be having problems on property they own.

After the meeting there was a friendly conversation between the people in the panel and the woman who gave the first talk, on one hand, and people from the audience, on the other, all very polite and reasonable. Both the higher level of comprehension and questions by the audience and the conversations afterwards were in sharp contrast to the earlier meeting at Bridgeport.

I read about how land and minerals are being expropriated in many countries by governments for the benefit of foreign investors, simply kicking the previous owner-users out without recourse and without an alternative way to make a living. The civility of a meeting like this makes you glad to be in the United States. You may feel you and your heirs (in the broadest sense) are losing something valuable, but it is not being taken at gunpoint.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

FluxRostrum May 24, 2013 at 8:47 am

Not being taken at gunpoint? That’s suppose to be a plus?

Gunpoint is the only way they should be stealing our future!


Yuri Gorby May 24, 2013 at 2:27 pm

To Tom Bond:

I just read your most recent article in Frack Check about the meeting in Buckhannon. “…not being taken at gunpoint”, indeed. I think that David and Linda Headley would respectfully disagree. But I do understand your point. We willingly concede our most precious resources for short term financial gains. Disheartening, to say the least.

It may be that one day … perhaps sooner than we think .. repression in the US will be delivered at gunpoint … or perhaps more advanced technology. We live in a closed container. Just like the bacteria I study, poorly mixed cultures tend to repeat patterns from small scale to larger scale as resources and/or environmental conditions develop.

Yuri Gorby, PhD, Troy, NY.


S. Tom Bond May 24, 2013 at 8:19 pm

“We willingly concede our most precious resources for short term financial gains.” This “We” is not willingly conceding anything, it is being taken away, period. I’m just happy we are not being shot as they are in Zambia, Madagascar and Indonesia, where the problems involve increasing the wealth of foreign investors.

I see it as being pretty much the same process, they use their money to ply the government, they ply the media, they ply many smaller businessmen, all the time denying reality. It is “violence” with money, not guns. But I think it is better than blood and guts on the ground.

We had one “shooting” less than ten miles from here. A guy “shot” a water truck passenger side window when it had a passenger in it. Police hushed it up – a Deputy looked me straight in the eye and said he hadn’t heard of such a thing when I told him that I had talked to the driver of the water truck behind the one that got “shot” at. The state police officially reprimanded the “shooter” for “throwing rocks at the truck.” What really happened is blowing in the wind.

Sorry my writing wasn’t clear enough – so that it allowed interpretation as capitulation.


Gale Simplicio May 25, 2013 at 3:28 pm

It doesn’t have to be taken at gunpoint because our government officials, state and national, are giving it to them. Otherwise they WOULD take it at gunpoint. And the prison system, and the National Defense Authorization Act, and every other law that re-defines our protections are the preparatory groundwork for when the breaking point is reached and they have to start calling anti-fracking activists ‘terrorists’ and jailing them. At gunpoint.


S. Thomas Bond May 26, 2013 at 10:15 am

In my opinion “our government” has already been taken. It is already a part of “them.” The secret of success for corporations (not only in fracking, but GMO’s, XL pipeline, the prison industry, and much more) is to “capture” the functions of government. See Laura Legere’s articles in the Times-Tribune:

As long as the principal determinant of government action is money, rather than adequately informed public opinion, it will be that way. And with a huge establishment trained, with individual moral judgment completely subverted to command, like attack dogs, so that it is only necessary to point, sure, calling anti-fracking activists terrorists is a distinct possibility, even likely.


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