Three years ago, I heard that there were 'land men' coming around giving away 'free money' for people to lease their land for natural gas development that would probably never happen. However, if it did, it would be completely safe, we'd never know they were here, and when they were done all would be as it was, and everyone would be rich.
Two years ago, I started hearing rumors about gas wells drilled in other places that were contaminating the water, soil, and air, and ruining peoples property.... but of course, they were just rumors. That could never happen without people becoming outraged and that would certainly make headlines in the press. Besides, we've got the DEP and the EPA to protect us. After all, that is their job.
One year ago, the drillers began filtering into town. Nice, polite, affable out-of-state workers. As I became friends with some of them, they candidly began to warn me about the gas industry's plans for Pennsylvania... and it didn't sound good.
I began doing my own research, and discovered that what was quietly being unleased on us was a massive all encompassing industrialization that would change all of our lives in ways I could have never imagined.
If not for the gas industry, I would never know what it's like to question the safety of my drinking water on a daily basis. I would have never thought to hold a match to the water pouring from my faucet to see if it would ignite before I decided to drink it. Foolish me... I always thought water was used to put out fires! If not for the gas industry, I would never be able to fully appreciate the quiet stillness I experienced spending the night away from my own home. I never realized how those 'jake brakes' and diesel horns have become a fixture in my life.
If not for the gas industry, I would have never even considered moving again. I thought I was living in a virtual paradise, but the industry sure opened up my eyes! Indeed, I've learned so much from the gas industry that I never would have learned had they not come to town.
Thanks to them, I've been able to see the darker, greedy, more selfish side of some of my neighbors that I would have never imagined they were capable of. If not for the gas industry, I would have never guessed that so many politicians were so corrupt, and could be bought-off so cheaply.
I can honestly say, that thanks to the gas industry, I know more about geology, chemistry, politics, human nature, and corporate greed that I ever wanted to know. I would probably never have come to fully appreciate the pristine environment, and unimaginable beauty, of the region I chose to make my home in, that I see vanishing before my eyes.
Yes, the gas industry has taught me many things I would have never learned had they not come to town. I would have never known the anger and frustration I know now. Or, the level of suspicion I now have for our elected officials on all levels.
The gas industry has also taught me some other things, too. Like there are some people who simply can't be bough-off. That there are people who will stand up with you when the odds are not in your favor just because it's the right thing to do. I've learned that there are a lot more people than I would have suspected that truly care about the future of this planet.
I have come to know so many people that I've no doubt, I would have never met had the gas industry not invade my town, my life, and theirs. People who I'm proud to stand with in fighting for our right to fresh water, clean air, and a safe environment. People from all walks of life; technicians, lawyers, writers, teachers, laborers, artists, doctors, businessmen, farmers, musicians, scientists, salesman, etc. People who care enough to show-up, speak-out, and get involved. People who, like myself, have realized that in order to help ourselves, we have to help and support each other. Good, clear thinking, intelligent people who realize that not everything has a price tag. People I am proud to call my friends, and hope that think me worthy to call friend, as well.
Yes, I owe a lot to the gas industry. Because of them, I know now, that when people to stand-up for themselves and their neighbors, anything is possible. I know that the human spirit is still alive and well. I know, that if we all stand together against this, the most powerful industry in the world, we may, or may not, win. But, together we can't possibly lose.