Gas Industry Spews Same Ol’ Same Ol’ Up North

11
Posted June 4, 2013 by Jeff Prince in Blotch
cheese

It’s sad to see folks in other parts of the country dealing with same covert-crapola that Tarrant County residents have endured from urban gas drillers for the past decade.

An editorial in this New York area newspaper deftly sums up the culture of deception that surrounds the industry.

The editorial, entitled “The gas industry’s hot air,” ends with a call for a moratorium on drilling “so that the health and environmental concerns about it can be studied without the constant pressure of gas industry lobbyists and other advocates who keep assuring us that all is well, if we’ll just take their word for it.”

Concerned citizens in Fort Worth begged for moratoriums here without success.

Statewide, the energy industry, buoyed by deep-pocketed lobbyists, pretty much does what it wants by operating under lax laws that industry insiders helped write.

Maybe those New Yorkers will have more luck with their moratorium. They’re used to dealing with rats.


11 Comments


  1.  
    Frank Bracken

    Jeff-
    I am curious as about what kind of academic and professional qualifications you have that make you a credible critic of the oil and gas industry. Please share the basis of your expertise with all of us.
    Thank you,
    Frank Bracken




    •  
      jeff.prince

      Besides being a fan of “The Beverly Hillbillies” theme song, I’ve also got two eyes, two ears, a nose, and a brain that provides me with common sense. Add to that a quarter century as a reporter investigating issues, and more than a hundred hours spent attending gas drilling task force meetings, city council meetings, neighborhood meetings, and public hearings, and visiting with residents whose lives have been impacted by nearby gas drilling.

      I wrote my first story on gas drilling almost 10 years ago. When I began researching that story, I had no preconceived ideas or notions about the industry. I knew nothing. Nor had I been negatively affected by drilling in my own life. I was just curious about something new that had come to town.

      When you see city officials push drilling down everybody’s throats while writing industry-friendly ordinances, and then quit their city jobs and go to work for the drillers, you tend to get edumacated.

      And when you go speak to person after person who has had to endure loud industrial noises at all hours near their homes, foul odors, toxic emissions, nosebleeds, sick children, dried up water wells, vibrating and cracked walls in their homes, land men spouting lies, complicit politicians, high-dollar marketing campaigns to snooker the populace, and an overall deceitful and bullying mentality among drilling companies, you tend to get edumacated.

      And when you see somebody whose life is hurt by nearby drilling, and they seek compensation, and then they face a large team of well-financed corporate lawyers unwilling to give an inch, you get edumacated.

      When you see eminent domain laws written for public utilities being exploited by private, for-profit gas companies, you get edumacated.

      When you go talk to people whose quality of lives and primary investments (their homes) have been ruined by nearby drilling, and then you look at the lax regulation by the Texas Railroad Commission and every other state agency, and you see lenient city ordinances written by royalty-hungry bean counters, well, you get edumacated.

      Just like the Clampetts.




      •  
        Don Young

        Nice capsule, Jeff, but you left out massive destruction of precious green space and how drillers steal the minerals right out from under your property if you don’t agree to do business with them.




    •  
      Jerry

      And what are YOUR credentials, Frank? I’ll bet you work for the industry and/or invest in it.

      Mine–BS Ch.E, 3 years grad physics, and 30 years R&D




  2.  
    jeff.prince

    I realize, Mr. Bracken, that you have much expertise (and investment) in the gas drilling industry, particularly when it comes to profiting from it, if indeed you are the Frank Bracken that is CEO and board member of Lonestar Resources. According to your company’s website, you bring a “variety of skill sets to the company, including corporate budgeting and finance, public and private equity and debt financing, mergers & acquisitions and oil & gas producing property divestitures.”

    Nice to meet you!




  3.  
    Jeff Prince

    By the way, I removed the word “lies” from the post. A lie is an intentional falsehood. I can’t read minds and know whether somebody is saying something they don’t believe, so I’ll leave that judgment to others.




  4.  
    Angie Van Ronk

    Well stated Mr. Prince. Thank you for writing this. I wish this topic were more commonly discussed in this area by all North Texas residents. Hopefully sharing it on social media like this and personal sites like Facebook and Twitter will help make it a common household topic. That’s the only way to change things.




  5.  
    Angie Van Ronk

    Well stated Mr. Prince. Thank you for writing this. I’ve already shared it with others and hope they’ll do the same.




  6.  

    I worked in industry for 12 years.
    I lived in the Wise County gas patch for about 16 years.
    I am a mineral owner.
    I lived in the Denton, TX gas patch for about 1.5 years.
    I have documented in video and photos, egregious violations and harm to the environment.
    I speak and give presentation all over the country, even to industry.

    Often that direct experience and picture and video proof is worth more than “professional qualifications.”

    The opposition to fracking grows in direct proportion to expansion. The theory of fracking might sound good but it’s the direct experience of it that creates opposition.

    At any rate, something must be turning the American public against fracking. The City of Boulder just passed a 1 yr moratorium on fracking so they can be added to this long and growing list of people who have rejected fracking. https://www.dropbox.com/s/vxh7ebuht33h49w/5-30-13BansMoratoriaStatementsRevision.pdf




  7.  
    CHK Aubrey

    While I sort of feel your pain, Jeff, about having to sit in meetings and listen to all this crap, think what I have had to go through. I grew up in OKC, but we never dealt with the riff raff, and I was sent to Duke to study. Good preps and all that, and I figured I would be an east coast snob who would drop in on OK during dove hunting season. Married Katie while at Duke, and we waited for her family to die off so we could tap into that Whirlpool money, but those Michiganders live too long. So I had to actually start working and making money, and around that time, someone told me the earth is a great thing because if you poke holes in it, oil and gas come out. So I started this company, and made a lot of money, but it takes a lot more to collect antique maps and wines and buy water properties to ride my jet skis, all the while dealing with those damn shareholders who keep asking for more cash. And geez, I’ve had to live in OKC where all everyone talks about is some deal they got at the auto salvage yard on solenoids and radiator hoses, whatever those are. I even got them a basketball team from Seattle so they would have something to think about besides flywheels and barbecue, and I get pilloried for stealing an NBA team. So for all those people who think our company has done so many bad things by polluting the air and water and reneging on deals, think of what I’ve had to do just to keep my income up to live the life I was destined to lead. And plus, I’ve had to hang out with T. Boone Pickens and pretend to like him and even pretend I am concerned about environmental issues. Texas Sharon doesn’t have to do that.




  8.  
    Frank Bracken

    Jeff-
    Oil and gas drilling is undoubtedly disruptive, even if temporarily so. Oil and gas drilling in an urban environment compounds this disruption. I can certainly think of at least one highly unscrupulous operator in the Barnett (name withheld) who regularly conducts their business in a way designed to screw the little guy. However, I firmly believe that most oil and gas companies behave with a high level of civic and environmental responsibility. While they are a relatively small part of our portfolio, Lonestar has operations in the Barnett Shale, and I believe we get very high marks for the way we have worked with the city, the neighborhood, and you can discern this for yourself when you look at our site. Most of our activity is being conducted in the Eagle Ford Shale of south Texas, and I am certain that all of our mineral owners, both wealthy and not, would tell you that we have treated their land like the guests that we are. I invite you to come see any of our operations to take a look for yourself. Most importantly, I do not think that Lonestar is in the minority when it comes to this sort of responsible behavior.





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