I took a motorcycle ride a few weeks back and stopped at a restaurant bar in Susquehanna County Pa. Susquehanna county is northeastern farming country, a lot of hilly open space would be the lay of the land.
As it was a nice evening on top of a stellar day, I took my meal out on the open patio. There were three occupied tables in our corner, a late thirties couple, a late forties couple with I think it was the gentleman's parents and a Texas oil and gas driller and of course I at the third. As I sat with a drink waiting for my meal of course I could not avoid hearing the conversation next to me. The Texan did most of the talking, it soon became apparent that he was doing the job of a gas drilling salesman, he was the head of the Susquehanna county gas drilling operations in Pennsylvania for a two year stint until operations were running smoothly then he would be assigned to another part of the country.
It did not take long to realize he was trying to "educate" these two sets of property owners he was sitting with, they were asking questions about the damage to their property from drilling operations, the danger of water pollution and the damage to the roads they had heard about. He admitted the dramatic road deterioration but said they were required to carry a bond to take care of the road for one hundred years, which he stressed "one hundred years". The couple at the next table pipe in on the road conditions and how bad they are to which the Texan said "well sure, we are not going to fix them until we are done". Apparently the pot holes were deep and big, on dirt roads it really only takes filling with modified, a combination of gravel and rock waste aggregate which is cheap. Millions are made but thousands cannot be spent to keep overused roads by overweight vehicles in a decent passable shape on a once a week basis at minimum. Well our Texan defended himself in the high road BP way, " It is ----------Quarry that is ruining the roads", sure, blame the subcontractors, you are making the millions but they did it.
I will get back to the gas in a bit. We have a Texan and are sitting in Pennsylvania hickerbilly territory so we know the topic of guns and hunting is bound to come around. Our Texan starts with the "We have the biggest of everything in Texas" bullshit, "we have bigger deer than you have up here". As it turned out the thirty something gentleman at the third table was a taxidermist and immediately puts in the challenge, and I know he is right because my brother who spent four years in Texas told me the deer were a lot smaller. It is a general rule that the farther south you go the deer get smaller. Well here is my chance to back up the PA guy against the Texan and I do. Deer weights were thrown around, a little good natured ribs thrown at the Texan and he is wise enough to kill the bull on these lines.
Of course guns has to be a topic so the thirties guy and Texan brag about their guns. "One shot, that's all we take in Texas". Well I just cannot help myself, it is time for my two cents, "how about one shoting George Bush for us". From previous statements I knew the table of five were Republicans so I knew that particular two cents was insulting to these people. Our Texan very slowly turns to me and with an expression of warning says "you just pushed it to your limit", to which I smile. I also had a feeling he literally meant it, he never looked at me again until I rose to leave.
I had heard Granny at the next table say that Democrats are so stupid and they never had anything to back up what they say, good old Republican cliche's from Granny and nods all around. I had a hard time with that one, my tongue does not bite easy, but a gentleman I was. This family was out to dinner and drinks and I was not invited into the conversation so I did manage to bite my tongue. The men acted like gentleman ranchers, they moved with that three quarter pace, like no one hurries me attitude, after all they were from the landed class and before I left I would hear just what they thought of other people. I had my thoughts on them also, here they sat talking gas drilling and they were eating up the krap the Texan was selling to them, after all this guy could put a lot of money in their pockets. It was them buying the Texan's drinks by the way. Now our Texan was an amicable guy, I could see sitting with him at the bar and having a good time but he was also a salesman.
The question of the Brack, the drilling fluid that is injected under pressure to seal the cracks and voids in the underground shaft was discussed. Just water and sand says the Texan, to get a few replies of "just water and sand?". "I'll drink it right from the tank" says the Texan. Boy I want to pipe in, but I know better, ruining a salesman's pitch especially after the George Bush comment would probably have my neck in a Texan's hand, he was a big boy. I wanted to say "let me see you drink it from the last connector just before it shoots underground".
Anyone who has read on the gas drilling process as it is being practiced in the northeast states is aware of the pollution of wells and water tables. New York state courts are being bombarded with cases against these gas drillers. Pennsylvania is now in the process of gas drilling, my county is next, local land owners are having meetings for the sake of getting the best contracts written. Yes stick together but for god's sake make sure you get the facts.
My parents have property so I have been doing the reading. The big question is, just what is in the brack solution. Everything I have read says it is a chemical substance which the industry protects the make up of. If I were to guess, I would say it is composed of as many waste products from other industries as possible to relieve these industries of waste removal, turn garbage to cash. Read "In The Name of Profit" sometime for an awakening. I do not remember the details but I heard a segment on the Thom Hartmann program this past winter in which the topic was pollution due to one of the chemicals in gasoline. Supposedly the only reason this chemical was in gasoline was for the sake of having an avenue to dispose of a waste product.
I do not know about you but I do not trust the chemical industries, I will not use bug spray no matter how much the bugs are killing me. Do you ever wonder about these older women, the moms and grandmas in a small bathroom spraying hair spray on themselves, I guarantee you the bathroom in these houses are bug free.
As the thirty something couple are leaving, they pause at the table of five and he lets them know about his piece of property and says and I really hated the way he stressed it, "I don't care, if you don't own property you are trailer trash" and repeats it, he means it. He gets affirmations and you have that rights and I wanted to ask him if he had gotten his piece of property from his daddy. My brother has this attitude and he got his piece of property from his daddy and I consider my brother trailer trash. He does turn to me and say good night. As he leaves on his tee shirt I notice an assault rifle, yep, I'm in hickerbilly Pa.. Well, as I rose to leave our Texan now follows me with his eyes until I get along side him so I give him a little so long wave and smile. To our family of four all I can think is, good luck folks but They are Republicans, they are smart, I do not have to worry about them.