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.”


Things got worse after a company official agreed to speak to the protesters, who turned on him after he expressed doubts about global warming. Someone yelled, he responded in turn, and the division between the two camps became deeper than ever. Chesapeake should probably stick to its loathsome TV commercials, using themes of war and patriotism to justify gas drilling.

Manipulation by Memo
This may come as a surprise, but some people suspect that state officials are lying about the Trans-Texas Corridor’s impact on public highways. Static would like to believe that representatives of the people tell the truth and conduct their business honestly and in the open (Static also wants to believe that Elvis and Jim Morrison faked their deaths and are alive and well and pleasantly high on an island in the South Pacific).

Gov. Rick Perry’s plan to build a sprawling super-corridor of toll roads, rail, and utilities across the state was sold as a public-private enterprise that wouldn’t change existing highways into toll roads. Then along comes a report by WOAI, a news radio station in San Antonio, which uncovered a Texas Department of Transportation internal memo that discusses using state money to buy back highways paid for with federal money, thereby paving the way for the state to charge tolls on those highways. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has dubbed it double taxation and vowed to oppose any such effort. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee that funds the federal transportation department, she has some clout in this fight.

So why isn’t Static feeling reassured that sneakery isn’t in the works? See above. Or read this week’s cover story. Or the “Metropolis” news story. Or just about any issue in the past 10 years, with stories aplenty about lying, cheating, and corruption. In this country, if you could burn government bullcorn, you wouldn’t need coal or natural gas. On the other hand, it wouldn’t make the air stink any less … .

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