During one of our 2007 paddling adventures, Kayak Dude said it would be like this.
And I quote: “This is gonna get ugly.”
In Dimock Township and the surrounding environs, fracking has pitted neighbor versus neighbor, business owners versus residential property owners, the state versus Cabot Oil and common sense environmentalism versus the intoxicating allure of royalties.
Here in Luzerne County, we’ve got a coalition of Back Mountain residents telling us that while Cabot Oil has made a mess of things up north, they welcome Encana with open arms and prehensile lips because, as they tell it, Encana is a much more responsible company and will get it right.
While they may or may not be correct in making this self-centered assertion, I’m here to tell them that if they leased their lands that bordered mine, I’d be a tad bit more than peeved with them. In fact, if their mad dash to the cash resulted in my having to head out to the water buffalo in the driveway every time I needed a rinsing off, they’d be smart to stay well away from me.
To hear the Cabot Oil apologists ($$$) tell it, naturally occurring methane bubbles up all over the freakin’ place. Not only that, it’s been bubbling up all over the freakin’ place for decades on end.
Really? Try telling that to David Buck of Endless Mountain Outfitters.
Thanks to Kayak Dude, I was at Buck’s spread in Sugar Run back in January of 2006. The weather forecasters said it would top out somewhere near 55 gloriously warm degrees, so KD beckoned me to get on out there and paddle some in January. And paddle we did.
We put in at the boat launch in Wysox, just a stone’s throw from Towanda. And then we paddled through Sugar Run and ended our voyage at Wyalusing. I think it was a thirty mile trip, but I may be remembering it wrong. Not that the estimated mileage matters in the least.
The point being, in those pre-fracking days of 2006, there were no methane bubbles to be found on that northern expanse of the Susquehanna River. None. Nada, Zip.
Oh, but now we do have methane bubbling up all over the freakin’ place on that stretch of the river. And, no, you can’t blame this particular foul-up on Cabot. Likewise, it can’t be blamed on Encana. Nope, up there in Endless Mountain way, we have yet another company fracturing the layers of shale.
The names of the companies do not matter to me as much as the rate of incidents. The percentages, if you will. And so far, we’ve got two companies fracking in two areas separated by many a mile, and those two areas are now bubbling up methane all over the freakin’ place.
But not to worry, though. We have the publicly-uttered assurances of a few Back Mountain residents already on the wet side of a gas company’s bed that Encana will get it right in our county.
Right! I’d sure hate to be them when the methane gets to bubbling just a few miles from here.
If and when the methane starts bubbling up in the Back Mountain, I’m thinking that some ugliness may find it’s way to those who, despite the empirical evidence presented to us thus far, dare to tell us that all will be well during this next fracking go-round.
All I know is, if I were to be reduced to sticking my head under a spigot attached to a water buffalo for a gulp of water only because my neighbor had multitudes of illusive dollar signs wafting before their unfocused eyes, I’d likely be going off my rocker on somebody. And without even the slightest of further provocations.
And there it is. Whatever it is, there it is.
Coming soon to Luzerne County: Ugliness.
And with that, the words of the immortal Francis Vincent Zappa: “There’s more of us ugly mother-fu>kers than you are.”