Fracking supporters offer more fiction than fact
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Terry Engelder and David Yoxtheimer use the film "Promised Land" as the hook for their Jan. 17 Perspectives piece "Marcellus Shale, Movie Star," so it's ironic that there is more fiction, myth and slick stereotyping from these supposedly objective academicians than is found in Matt Damon's movie script.
They sneak an innuendo into their piece about the movie's investors, without mentioning that their own Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Penn State is funded by shale gas corporations such as Chesapeake Energy, Shell and Norway's Statoil.
They tout energy independence as a benefit from fracking, hiding the fact that those multinational energy companies are already planning to send Pennsylvania's natural gas to Europe and Asia, where it will fetch up to four times the price now paid by Americans.
They praise natural gas as cleaner-burning, burying the evidence that shale gas methane, emitted while getting that gas to the burner, does far greater damage to our climate than carbon dioxide from the flame itself.
They credit Pennsylvania's Act 13 impact fee as new revenue for communities, ignoring the actual impact on those communities (and Act 13's hopelessly inadequate compensation): not only damage to their infrastructure, their economies, their public health and safety, but also the anti-democratic impact of the act's preemption of municipal governments.
They offer shale gas as "'a means to wean ourselves off our carbon-heavy habits" at the same time that shale gas -- artificially cheap and incredibly destructive -- is becoming the crack cocaine of all fossil fuels.
They conclude by accusing the filmmakers of suggesting that the "gas industry lies to manipulate the public," while using their university affiliation to do just that.
The movie "Promised Land" doesn't pretend to be a documentary, but it does ask the right question: When our land has been made unlivable, where will we go?
JOHN S. DETWILER
First Published January 23, 2013 12:00 am