Wednesday, February 23, 2011

America's Natural Gas Alliance "PR"

To Whom it may concern at America's Natural Gas Alliance (anga):

I just saw one of your ads, googled you, found your web site, and I must admit, I haven't seen such a load of misleading and disingenuous PR crap since the tobacco industry made the claim that cigarettes pose no known health risk. Another word for that kind of advertising is lying. (see attached Certus-Strategies report)

First of all, how dare you make the claim that natural gas is a 'clean alternative fuel'. Although it may be cleaner than oil or coal when burned, during it's life-cycle from extraction, to transportation, to use, it is at least as dirty as coal, and the methane that escapes during it's production is a more potent and harmful greenhouse gas than carbon monoxide. I know this, and the gas industry knows this, as well.

As for getting the US off foreign oil, that's simply not true. Natural gas and oil are largely non-interchangeable fuels. I would also like to point out that when you consider the foreign investment in US shale gas, we're simply taking one of our own natural resources, selling at wholesale prices to foreign interests who will in turn sell it to the highest bidder on the global market, and we'll end up buying back what was ours in the first place. Not to mention the intent of the industry to liquefy the gas for overseas sales.

This is not about creating jobs, it's not about 'getting off foreign oil', or 'clean/green energy'. It's about corporate profits, and in order to maximize those profits, shale gas extraction in the US will have to be massive in it's scale, which will result in a wide scale land grab, enormous water consumption, reduced air quality due to the necessary compressor stations, and ultimately a reduction in property values for anyone with leased property, or in close proximity to leased property.

Of course, you won't publicly admit to any of those facts. If you did, the negative public blow-back would put your industry at risk of more regulation, and you wouldn't be able to so easily convince people to turn over their land for industrial development. But, then again, that's why you have the 'land men', who as independent contractors can promise people anything, lie to them about the realities, and tell them how 'rich' they're going to get by signing your 'lease'. Little do they know, that by signing that 'lease', it is in essence a transfer of sub-surface ownership of their property. Little do they know, that no matter how much land they have, the gas industry is going to drill wherever, and whenever it wants, and all the land they'll actually be able to use will be a 200' parameter around their house. Not that they, or anyone else would want to live there anymore.

And, let's not forget about those wonderful high-risk jobs. 12 hour shifts, toxic chemicals, and inexperienced underpaid helpers just make a job with the industry too good to be true. Especially when the 'local jobs' are just temporary at best, anyway.

Why do you not mention the jobs the gas/oil industry will eliminate, too? Jobs in tourism, forestry, agriculture, small 'mom & pop' businesses, new home building, etc. Let's be honest, who in their right mind would ever want to vacation, hunt, fish, camp, farm, build a new home, or live near an industrialization of this magnitude? Especially when you contaminate our water and try to cover it up.

Now, just so you know, I am posting this correspondence on my blog, my FB page, and will forward this (bcc), along with the link to your website, to as many people as I can. It's my way of countering your misleading 'PR'. You see, I believe in truth in advertising and transparency of intent, even if you don't!

The gas industry won't tell us the truth, the government won't protect us, so we have to protect ourselves. This is my small contribution.

Just in case you choose to respond, use the email address this is sent from, or call me directly at 570-482-3503. I can do that because I have nothing to hide. I don't need an 'L.L.C.' after my name. I'm sure that you must think me arrogant and outspoken for trying to expose this industry for what it is, but if the gas industry was honest, transparent, and took responsibility for the lives, the property, and the environment they ruin, I wouldn't be doing this.

John Trallo
Sonestown, PA


  1. Excellent analysis, John. Simply excellent. This should be required reading for every legislator who is now vacillating on whether to vote for or against protective law for our waters and for the health of our citizens. Sadly,the scope of the water and surface owners law needed right now is so great as to preclude consideration of air quality regulations, also much needed, in the 2011 regular legislative session in West Virginia. Legislators only have so much time to digest proposed law and the current hydraulic fracturing bill is bulky already by necessity. The gas industry is operating in a regulatory vacuum.