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Fort Worth residents aren’t thrilled that a large stand of old-growth trees is pegged for destruction to make way for gas drilling near the Trinity River.

Most folks thought the wooded area near Rogers Road was a park and they were flabbergasted to discover Chesapeake Energy Corp. had bought the land and planned to cut many of the trees. Residents purchased a full-page ad in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this weekend, announcing a picnic and peaceful protest. The next day, Chesapeake ran its own full-page ad, announcing its own picnic – on the same day. About 500 folks attended the protest picnic and saw Chesapeake employees gathered nearby wearing green t-shirts and attempting to counter the protesters’ message. (Note to Chesapeake: Putting green t-shirts on the backs of corporate shills for a tree-cutting, road-ravaging, air-fouling, greed-ridden industry doesn’t make them environmentalists.)

Regardless, Chesapeake shot itself in the foot. The company erected little white signs to mark where replacement trees would be planted, which only served to emphasize how large an area would be cleared. “They are going to cut down 100-year-old trees and then plant some saplings in a straight row to try to hide the gas rigs,” activist Don Young said. “Them showing up really helped our cause because they showed how awful this thing is going to look.”

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