|Nicole Jacobs from Energy In Depth, Northeast Marcellus Initiative. This is an industry-organized and industry-funded web site, which has taken on the basically impossible job of correcting or counter-spinning significant misinformation coming from the anti-drilling side. The freaky-but-effective, frack-related distortions have been very successfully spread by the Internet, or during in-person "educational forums" in the PA and NY areas over the last three or more years. EID Northeast, on the other hand, has been trying to dig the pro-gas side out, since sometime earlier this year.|
|This was a new T-shirt on me, sponsored, as you can see, by www.energycitizens.org, which looks like another outreach attempt from the American Petroleum Institute. If it were up to me, I would not have printed anything on a yellow background. But these did at least stand out for the day.|
|An usher told me the Forum officially held 1,527 seats. But they didn't use the balcony to seat the crowd during the 1-4 p.m. session. So I would say attendance in Binghamton on Nov. 17, midday round, was around 1,200. It was tight, and occasionally more than a little testy. That is Victor Furman with his arms folded on the right. He earlier gave the DEC a three-minute piece of his mind, and he has also become a persistent pro-drilling voice in the Binghamton area, especially on the letters page, and in the thoroughly over-heated comments section of the online Press and Sun-Bulletin.|
|This is Hazel Brandt from Windsor, NY, and her very powerful, very personal, pro-drilling statement has been since preserved by EID-Northeast here. Definitely worth a read. She had to drop her cane in order to handle her notes.|
The NYS DEC took testimony from as many speakers as they could fit in, between 1 and 4 p.m., at the rate of three minutes per speech — minus, of course, time lost to explaining ground rules, walks to the podium, applause and boos, official shushing of the applause and boos, and people who tried to go over their limit.
The anti's seemed to go over their limit quite a bit, which inevitably led the gassers to yell "Time!"
Having to sit and listen quietly to so much absolutely preposterous untruth — some from the excessively hopeful gassers, but by-far-most from everywhere-doom-seeing anti-drillers — was very difficult for me. (And that was pretty much why I was not able to stick it out for the evening session, sorry to say.) My only comfort, the whole day long, was the knowledge that soon somebody who shared my sentiments would be yelling "Time!"
Looking back, it occurs to me that that should be the landowners' rallying cry against all further shale gas delay: "Time!"
|As you can tell from the banner on my home page, this is my favorite message from the pro-gas side. In fact, soon after it was put out in bumper sticker form, I wrote a whole post about just this message. The fellow on the left is Douglas Lee (spelling?), and he later gave a speech inside, demolishing a long list of falsehoods from the anti-frack side, with a voice still nicely accented with his native tongue (which I don't know for sure, and which I didn't get a chance to ask). The tall blond woman in the middle was the only speaker for which I could not guess her preference beforehand. I forgot that I had seen her before the hearing started, standing out here with these characters.|
|This is Dan Fitzsimmons, leader of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, which is what I like to call "the coalition of coalitions" in upstate New York. Formed in the Fall of 2008 — shortly after New York's temporary shale gas moratorium got started — JLCNY today claims to represent more than 20,000 households, 70,000 people, and 800,000 acres, mostly in the Southern Tier.|
Given the popularity of the drilling issue within upstate media, you would think Fitzsimmons would already be findable, pictured many times on Google Images — and also be findable, quoted hundreds of times, on Google News. Instead, I assert that JLCNY and Fitzsimmons and many others on the pro-gas side have been routinely ignored by upstate media — especially those outlets originating as daily newspapers.
This is simply because the current generation of journalists is too committed to a reflexive (but essentially untruthful) enviro's-versus-industry narrative. Tell me, where do the pro-drilling landowners fit in this narrative? Where do the job-hungry labor unions fit? Or the pro-drilling chambers of commerce? The story that's customarily told — over and over again — is not the whole truth, and it's not the whole story. And my frustration level on this point is beyond bursting.
I know Fitzsimmons has been called for a quote once or twice before, but I believe this is the first web-posted photo of him. Three years later — this is the first. To me, that is amazing.
|I think I'm now officially starting to lose track of the number of web sites that have been created, over the last two years or so, with the specific calibration of taking the pro-shale gas side — in a seemingly authentic, grassroots way. In my recollection, Shale Country was one of the earlier entrants — leading with some fairly artfully done slide-shows-with-voiceovers. But there wasn't much updating or follow-through — which is certain death for any web site. I don't know enough about the genealogy of the oil and gas policy family to be able to explain all the subtle shadings and differences, presumably traceable to all the various funding sources. All I know is, with regard to this Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale fight, everything in NY and PA has been too little and too late from the pro-drilling side. |
All hindsight, and no foresight, in other words.
Running forward, we shall see.